The Collaboration Trap
Date Written: 2018-01-17
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21954
Most of environmental/conservation groups in the West are participants in various public land collaboratives.Most participating collaborative members are made up of people who generally believe in exploiting natural landscapes for human benefit. As a generalization, there is overwhelming representation in such collaboratives by people who speak for the resource extraction industry or their sympathizers like rural county commissioners, ORV enthusiasts, and so forth.
I want to acknowledge that many of the people working for conservation groups are doing what they believe will yield the best outcomes. However, I would suggest they reevaluate their methods and goals.
Though ostensibly all these groups profess to be wildlands advocates–and most are surely to some degree–they have bought into the prevailing myths promoted by the timber industry and forest service that manipulation of our landscape is necessary to "restore" ecological integrity and stability.
Exacerbating the situation is that most of the environmentalists participating in these collaboratives have limited ecological training. With backgrounds as lawyers, journalists, political advisors and so on, they are intelligent, and often well versed in policy, and other areas, but they don't know the intricacies of ecology, and, the nuances of wildfire/forest ecology, range ecology, and wildlife ecology.