Date of Award

1-1-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Cheryl L. Duckworth

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Elena P. Bastidas

Abstract

This dissertation uses the constructivist grounded theory methods of Charmaz (2011) to explore: 1) the unique characteristics of landscape-scale collaboration; 2) implications for collaborative capacity-building strategies; and 3) the relationship between conflict, landscape-scale collaboration, and conflict resolution. The study was conducted through the US Forest Service's Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). In the 1980s and 1990s, national forest management conflicts brought the forest industry to a standstill, with many jobs lost. In addition, historic fire suppression practices have made our national forests highly vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire. Many have strong opinions about what should be done and how. The proposed substantive theory suggests landscape-scale collaboration can serve as a conflict prevention, problem solving, or conflict resolution venue and offer opportunities for remarkable efficiencies in forest restoration as well as profoundly restorative transformation in ecological, social, economic, personal, and spiritual dimensions. It identifies unique characteristics of collaboration at this scale; suggests that realizing benefits depends on collaborative capacities at the collaborator, constituent organization, collaborative stakeholder group, and sponsoring organization levels, and on mastering nine challenges; and suggests eight implications for collaborative capacity building strategies. The study contributes to forest restoration, reduced loss of life and livelihood, and economic recovery by contributing to CFLRP effectiveness. It contributes to the field of conflict resolution by: illuminating the collaboration / conflict resolution relationship; a particular application of collaboration; related sources of conflict; and conflict resolution strategies. It advances new directions of study for conflict resolution scholars--i.e., how to help agencies and groups strengthen their collaborative capacities.