Environmental Management

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 189–195 | Cite as

Developing a collaborative model for environmental planning and management

  • Steve Selin
  • Deborah Chevez


Methods for involving the public in natural resource management are changing as agencies adjust to an increasingly turbulent social and political environment. There is growing interest among managers and scholars in collaborative approaches to public involvement. Collaboration is conceptually defined and elaborated using examples from the natural resource management field. This paper then examines how collaboration theory from the organizational behavior field can help environmental managers to better understand those factors that facilitate and inhibit collaborative solutions to resource problems. A process-oriented model is presented that proposes that collaboration emerges out of an environmental context and then proceeds sequentially through a problem-setting, direction-setting, and structuring phase. Factors constraining collaboration are also specified, including organizational culture and power differentials. Designs for managing collaboration are identified, which include appreciative planning, joint agreements, dialogues, and negotiated settlements. Environmental managers need new skills to manage collaboration within a dynamic social and political environment. Further research is needed to test the propositions outlined here.

Key words

Collaboration Public involvement Natural resources Dispute resolution Partnerships Environmental management Transactive planning Communities of interest 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Ackoff, R. L. 1974. Redesigning the future. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  2. America's Great Outdoor. 1991.National Recreation Strategy Newsletter 2:1–27. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. Ashor, J. L., S. F. McCool, and G. L. Stokes. 1986. Improving wildreness planning efforts: Application of the transactive planning approach. Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, Utah.Google Scholar
  4. Baskerville, G., 1988. Management of publicly owned forests.Forest Chronicle 64:136–140.Google Scholar
  5. Bishop, S. G. 1991. Partners for research and resource management. Partners in Parks, Henderson, Nevada.Google Scholar
  6. Bonnicksen, T. M. 1991. Managing biosocial systems.Journal of Forestry October: 10–15.Google Scholar
  7. Clower, C. M., J. D. Forren, J. W. Rawson, K. J. Bonner. 1993. Canaan Valley: A watershed protection approach. Proceedings of watershed 93: A national conference on watershed management. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Alexandria, Virginia.Google Scholar
  8. Crowley, K. 1988. Teamwork: Resorts and the Forest Service.Parks and Recreation August:38–40.Google Scholar
  9. Freeman, R. E. 1984. Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Pitman Publishing, Marshfield, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  10. Gray, B. 1985. Conditions facilitating interorganizational collaboration.Human Relations 38(10):911–936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gray, B. 1989. Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems. Jossey-Bass, San Franciso.Google Scholar
  12. Hayes, S. 1988. What's wrong with mediations?Sylvanian Feb–Mar:2.Google Scholar
  13. Longan, M. 1988. Smokey the Bear meets Ronald McDonald.Parks and Recreation September:62–83.Google Scholar
  14. McCann, J. E. 1983. Design guidelines for social problem-solving interventions.Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences 9(2):177–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nelson, R. D., and Raml, T. A. 1989. Join us: Challenge cost-share for wildlife and fisheries on national forests. Proceedings of the fifty-fourth North American wildlife and natural resources conference. Wildlife Management Institute, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  16. Rao, K., and C. Geisler. 1990. The social consequences of protected areas development for resident people.Society and Natural Resources 3(1):19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Schatz, C., L. H. McAvoy, and D. W. Lime. 1991. Cooperation in resource management: A model planning process for promoting partnerships between resource managers and private service providers.Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 9(4):42–58.Google Scholar
  18. Selin, S. W., and K. Beason. 1991. Interorganizational relations in tourism.Annals of Tourism Research 18(4):639–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Selin, S. W., and D. Chavez. 1993. Recreation partnerships and the USDA Forest Service.Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 11(1):1–8.Google Scholar
  20. Sirmon, J, W. E. Shands, and C. Liggett. 1993. Communities of interests and open decisionmaking.Journal of Forestry 91(7):17–21.Google Scholar
  21. Stewart, W. P., J. S. Sullivan, J. M. Packard, and S. B. Anderson. 1991. Tourism development in rural areas of the American west. Proceedings of leisure research symposium. National Recreation and Park Association, Alexandria, Virginia.Google Scholar
  22. Tanz, J. S., and A. F. Howard. 1991. Meaningul public participation in the planning and management of publicly owned forests.The Forestry Chronide 67(2):125–130.Google Scholar
  23. Waddock, S.A., 1989. Understanding social partnerships: An evolutionary model of partnership organizations.Administration and Society 21(1):78–100.Google Scholar
  24. Whitelaw, E., and E. Niemi. 1993. After the owl.Old Oregon Winter: 26–29.Google Scholar
  25. Wondolleck, J. M. 1988. Public lands conflict and resolution. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Selin
    • 1
  • Deborah Chevez
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of ForestryWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Fores Fire LaboratoryUSDA Forest ServiceCaliforniaRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations