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Developing Resource-Based Social Conflict Models for Assessing the Utility of Negotiation in Conflict Resolution

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Social conflicts over the management of natural resources are increasing. An informative example of these conflicts is the debate over the management of our national forests. Despite sincere efforts by the USDA Forest Service to improve modes of public involvement, as well as the institutionalization of dispute resolution procedures, the contentiousness and frequency of conflict continues to escalate. This is manifest in the high number of administrative appeals on forest plans and projects. The study used a nation-wide survey of 238 appellants (response rate of 75%) of Forest Service management decisions to test the predictive utility of social conflict models for determining the feasibility of negotiation in resolving environmental conflict. This paper addresses the question of whether the utility of negotiation can be predicted based on (1) the resources involved in the dispute, (2) how those resources are being utilized, and (3) the perceived impact on social, economic, and health issues. The social conflict models proved to have some utility in predicting the types of conflict that may be predisposed to resolution through negotiation. For. Sci. 45(3):394-406.

Keywords: Environmental dispute resolution; collaborative planning; community of interest; public participation; quality of resolution

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Faculty of Forestry, State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210-, Fax: (315) 460-6535

Publication date: 1999-08-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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