Biodiversity Conservation in Costa Rica: Learning the Lessons in a Seasonal Dry Forest

By Gordon W. Frankie; Alfonso Mata et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 18
Conflict Resolution
RECOGNIZING AND MANAGING DISCORD IN RESOURCE PROTECTION
Gregory A. Giusti

Editors' note: This chapter represents the only contribution from an author who has not worked directly in Costa Rica. The topic presented here pertains to collaboration, which is of great importance in implementing any conservation project. As editors, we wanted to include a model for collaboration that could be used universally in cases in which there was sufficient societal infrastructure. Greg Giusti's model fits our need perfectly. It is based on years of work as a practicing cooperative extension specialist and collaboration moderator for the University of California.

THERE CAN BE no greater accomplishment for a resource professional than to bring together a divergent group of individuals and interests to forge a comprehensive plan for biological conservation. Inherent in this proclamation is the recognition that multiple variables of economic, environmental, and social prejudices will play a role in the dynamics of any group brought together to develop such a plan. Individuals participating in such a discussion will undoubtedly bring with them biased points of view to suit their particular needs and may have little or no regard for opposing perspectives. In order for a resource professional to assist in resolving resource management conflicts he or she must (1) recognize that such myopic viewpoints exist and (2) develop a process that enables a wide-ranging discussion allowing inclusion of multiple viewpoints (Lee 1991). Schindler and Cheek (1999) expand on Lee's approach by identifying six criteria important to the success of citizen-agency interactions. They suggest that the process is most effective when (1) it is open and inclusive; (2) it is built on skilled leadership and interactive forums; (3) it includes innovative and flexible methods; (4) involvement is early and continuous; (5) efforts result in action; and (6) the process seeks to build trust among participants. Simply stated, resource professionals must recognize and accept that natural resource conflict resolution is an exercise in social tutelage,

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