Cross-Boundary Cooperation in a Watershed Context: The Sentiments of Private Forest Landowners
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Ecosystem management and sustainable forestry on mixed ownership landscapes will require some level of cross-boundary coordination or management. Oregon's experiment with local, voluntary, collaborative forums, called watershed councils, is one mechanism to foster cross-boundary management. Fifty qualitative, in-depth interviews in three study areas were conducted with nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners, watershed council members, and agency employees to learn how and why landowners participate (or not) on watershed councils. Study areas were located in three different areas of the state to reflect different ecological and organizational settings. Our case study identified three themes—stewardship ethic, property rights amid uncertainty, and action orientation—that were most salient among landowners when deciding to participate in their local watershed council. Other factors related to competing opportunities were also identified. Our results relate to the social psychological antecedents to cooperation of perceived consensus, group identity, and legitimacy of authority as well as to applied situations where cross-boundary coordination and management are goals.
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