Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Len Broberg

Commitee Members

Matthew McKinney, Martin Nie


Collaborative Conservation, Community Based Conservation, Federal Land Management, Bureau of Land Management, Public Land Management


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies


Collaborative Conservation is one type of Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR) that, since the 1970’s, has proliferated throughout public land and natural resource management, especially in the Western United States. As the notion of collaboration has risen in the collective consciousness of public land management professionals, various efforts to capitalize on its use have been instituted through regulatory reforms and legislation. For twenty years the Resource Advisory Councils have fulfilled their regulatory responsibilities and exemplify policy mandated collaborative consensus-building process, yet little research has been conducted to understand what contributes to their effectiveness. This study investigates the effect of instituting or requiring collaborative conservation in the management of public lands by examining the Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) as they are employed within the Bureau of Land Management. This study seeks to understand the key benefits and features of the RAC institution that enable its effectiveness by asking: what can be learned from the Rocky Mountain Region RACs as an example for how collaborative problem solving can be instituted in public lands management? And, how can these lessons inform future attempts to institute collaborative governance within the legal and institutional framework of federal public lands management? In an age of ceaseless animosity over the management of federal public lands, this study contributes to advancing the integration of collaborative problem solving in federal lands management and gives voice to the positive effects of community-based conflict resolution.



© Copyright 2015 Benjamin D. Donatelle