Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Human Ecology Review

Publication Date



Society for Human Ecology





First Page


Last Page



Since the early 1990s collaboration and consensus processes have become associated with success in the environmental policy and natural resource policy arenas. Interest in collaboration and consensus processes have emerged, in part, out of a frustration with more conventional efforts used to involve stakeholders, to work though conflicts, and to make decisions in the environmental and natural resource policy arenas. Collaboration and consensus processes, when designed well and applied appropriately, provide opportunities for meaningful stakeholder engagement. This essay features aspects of two government-led or agency-based (Koontz et al. 2004; Moore and Koontz 2003) planning efforts that consider collaboration and citizens/stakeholder engagement. Both projects, a forest management plan revision on the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, and a regional sediment management planning effort at the mouth of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, have considered a Collaborative Learning (CL) approach (Daniels and Walker 2001) for stakeholder involvement. As part of these CL applications, citizens/stakeholders have been asked for their views of the kind of participation processes they value and how they prefer to be involved. This essay presents a summary of citizens' ideas. In doing so, it addresses the question: How do stakeholders want to be engaged in agency-led planning efforts? Data reveal that stakeholders prefer active engagement, access to information and events, and clearly defined decision space. Prior to presenting the project data germane to this question, the paper highlights the trinity of voice and Collaborative Learning.


Originally published by the Society for Human Ecology. Publisher's PDF available through remote link.