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Building consensus: legitimate hope or seductive paradox?

Author(s): Stephen F. McCool, Kathleen Guthrie, Jane Kapler Smith
Year Published: 2000

To understand how participants in a natural resource planning situation described the nature of consensus, we interviewed scientists, agency planners and managers, and public representatives in two planning processes on the Bitterroot National Forest in west-central Montana. While most interviewees felt the agency had included affected interests and felt that the problem could be resolved through public participation, disagreements about the problem definition occurred. Most could 'live with' the decision of the agency, but some could not. People varied in their capacity to assimilate the information presented at public meetings. Interviewees varied in their interpretation of whether a consensus was arrived at in the two public involvement processes investigated, but most agreed that it was an essential step in planning.

Citation: McCool, Stephen F.; Guthrie, Kathleen; Smith, Jane Kapler. 2000. Building consensus: legitimate hope or seductive paradox? Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-25. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 14 p.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Management Approaches, National Environmental Policy and Review Act (EPA)
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 11186
FRAMES RCS number: 5865
Record updated: Sep 8, 2020