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Understanding Dispute Resolution Processes for American and Australian Public Wildlands: Towards a Conceptual Framework for Managers

Moore, S.A. and Lee, R.G. (1999) Understanding Dispute Resolution Processes for American and Australian Public Wildlands: Towards a Conceptual Framework for Managers. Environmental Management, 23 (4). pp. 453-465.

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The last 20 years have seen the successful application of environmental dispute resolution processes, where people voluntarily negotiate toward mutually acceptable solutions, to many environmental disputes. The effects of contextual influences, such as the number of parties and presence of deadlines, on outcomes are known and frequently described. Less well documented and understood are the interaction processes themselves. This paper draws on two case studies to develop a conceptual framework describing these processes. Disputes associated with management planning for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in the United States and Fitzgerald River National Park in Australia provided the cases. The conceptual framework derived had eight sequential stages: (1) joint definition of problems, (2) uncertainty about what to do, (3) agreement on group procedures, (4) realization of interdependence, (5) enthusiasm about collective possibilities, (6) commitment to working together, (7) consolidation of the group, and (8) implementation of a resolution. The framework provides new insights for managers of public wildlands, especially the need for varying but ongoing managerial involvement in dispute resolution processes. High levels of involvement and influence are essential at the beginning in problem definition and group procedure design and at the end in implementing resolutions. Conversely, agency members must be willing to exert less influence, while still being involved and committed to collective purposes, during the middle stages. Also apparent from the conceptual framework is the importance of developing shared understandings and of allowing sufficient time for understanding to develop, if successful resolution is to be achieved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Copyright: © Springer-Verlag
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