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RMRS-RP-25: Building consensus: Legitimate hope or seductive paradox?


McCool, Stephen F.; Guthrie, Kathleen; Smith, Jane Kapler. 2000. Building consensus: Legitimate hope or seductive paradox?Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-25. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 14 p.

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.

Keywords: ecosystem management, human dimension, consensus, public involvement, public participation


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Title: RMRS-RP-25: Building consensus: Legitimate hope or seductive paradox?
Electronic Publish Date: November 13, 2003
Last Update:
January 14, 2010

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