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Participation and Conflict: Lessons Learned From Community Forestry

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Today, natural resource user groups are more diverse, with differing attitudes and behaviors. Successful resource management addressing diverse users' needs and preferences will require broadening participation in decisionmaking. We describe three components essential for participatory management: broadening constituencies involved in decisionmaking, cultivating better dialogue, and using conflict resolution techniques. Although there are disadvantages, participatory approaches ultimately reduce conflict, reduce costs, yield robust solutions, and lead to constituent support. We include a case study illustrating participation in a land-use planning context. Resource management professionals are likely to be involved in increased public participation and potential conflict, and professionals implementing participatory processes can be most successful with prior knowledge of effective ways to broaden participation as well as to resolve conflict.

Keywords: collaboration; community forestry; conflict resolution; diversity; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; outreach; participation; participatory research; planning

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, 339 Science II Iowa State University Ames IA 50011-3221, Email: 2: Assistant Professor School of Forest Resources Pennsylvania, State University 108 Ferguson Bldg. University Park PA 16802-4300, Email: 3: Professor Department of Forestry, 126 Natural Resources Michigan State University East Lansing MI 48824, Email: 4: Group Leader Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Ave. St. Paul MN 55108, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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