COMMUNITY-BASED COLLABORATION by E. Franklin Dukes and Juliana E. Birkhoff

Reviewed by Ric Richardson, University of New Mexico

This book offers an in-depth interdisciplinary exploration of what attracts people to community-based collaboration.

Community-Based Collaboration: Bridging Socio-Ecological Research and Practice, by E. Franklin Dukes, Karen E. Firehock, and Juliana E. Birkhoff, Eds., University of Virginia Press, 240pp

This book is one of a kind. Dukes, Firehawk and Birkoff, leading researchers and practitioners in community-based collaboration, provide insightful guidance on solving local environmental and natural resource management problems. Community-Based Collaboration, the culmination of a decade of work, is an accessible compendium on U.S. experience with collective management of land and water resources.

The book focuses on the importance of creating change through collaboration between environmental groups, landowners, Indian tribes, farmers, ranchers, and local, state and federal agencies. The authors address thorny environmental issues leading to local management systems that result in sustainable and ecological resilience.

Community-Based Collaboration is a valuable resource providing new knowledge about the community-based collaborative movement from on-the-ground experience. Except for a chapter about the theory of collaboration, the book is accessible to both academic and lay audiences. Duke’s concluding chapter is especially valuable in laying out an agenda for action and providing his view on the promise for the future of community-based collaboration. The book stands apart from other publications about land use and natural resource dispute resolution by accepting the assumption that the best problem solving strategies lie in community collaboration. However, this may also be the book’s weakness as it overlooks complementary strategies and higher-level policy dialogue to create and implement environmental policy.

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