, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 47–59 | Cite as

The role of citizen scientist in nature resource decision-making: Lessons from the spruce budworm problem in Canada

  • Alan Miller


An increased role for citizen participation in natural resource decision-making has been advocated by, amongst others, the United Nations (Brundtland Commission) as a means of initiating fundamental changes in the way we exploit natural resources. However, attempts at meaningful participation by the public are met with resistance, commonly by the dominant elites who control environmental and economic policies. Citizen groups press for involvement, only to be dismissed by local establishments as ill-informed amateurs. The resulting conflicts seldom lead to innovations in policy or to constructive cooperation in the face of new environmental problems. This leads the author to feelings of pessimism about prospects for genuine public participation in the absence of political change. In arguing in support of such change, a case study is offered which illustrates the unfortunate consequences that ensue when participation is sought and rejected. The paper closes with recommendations for the way in which citizen groups could contribute in a meaningful way to natural resource decision-making, were they to be given the opportunity.


Natural Resource Economic Policy Nature Conservation Environmental Problem Citizen Scientist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Science and Technology Letters 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New Brunswick, Psychology DepartmentUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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