Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Rangeland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

Mark W. Brunson


Mark W. Brunson


Allen Rasmussen


Dale Blahna


Involvement in collaborative partnerships in natural resource management has become a popular method for natural resource management agencies to collect public input, cope with conflicts, and develop ecosystem management plans. This thesis evaluates various collaborative processes, emphasizing multiple-owner partnerships. Qualitative interviews of 46 landowners in Utah were conducted to reveal concerns and suggestions regarding multiple-owner landscape-level collaborative partnerships. Landowners were concerned about private property rights infringement and losing control of their private land. Landowners were primarily concerned about the fairness and effectiveness of any partnership in which they were involved.

However, they were willing to consider participating if certain procedural and group composition elements were met: realistic goals; compromise or consensus-based decision-making; time efficiency; participant commitment, especially by public land management officials; more weight given to local concerns than non-local concerns; participant knowledge of local ecosystems; and respect among participants.

A follow-up study with participants of eight collaborative partnerships in four western states examined the importance of the procedural and group composition elements identified from the landowner interviews, plus one from a literature review, i.e., that participants feel that they have some control and/or a voice in the process. Analysis revealed that all but one of these elements - more weight given to local concerns - were associated with participants' perceptions that their partnership was fair and effective. These elements can be used as guidelines for emerging collaborative partnerships. Participants were overwhelmingly positive in their evaluations of their partnerships, suggesting that there are real benefits of using collaborative processes.