Branching Out, Digging In

Branching Out, Digging In: Environmental Advocacy and Agenda Setting

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Branching Out, Digging In
    Book Description:

    Sarah B. Pralle takes an in-depth look at why some environmental conflicts expand to attract a lot of attention and participation, while others generate little interest or action. Branching Out, Digging In examines the expansion and containment of political conflict around forest policies in the United States and Canada. Late in 1993 citizens from around the world mobilized on behalf of saving old-growth forests in Clayoquot Sound. Yet, at the same time only a very few took note of an even larger reserve of public land at risk in northern California. Both cases, the Clayoquot Sound controversy in British Columbia and the Quincy Library Group case in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California, centered around conflicts between environmentalists seeking to preserve old-growth forests and timber companies fighting to preserve their logging privileges. Both marked important episodes in the history of forest politics in their respective countries but with dramatically different results. The Clayoquot Sound controversy spawned the largest civil disobedience in Canadian history; international demonstrations in Japan, England, Germany, Austria, and the United States; and the most significant changes in British Columbia's forest policy in decades. On the other hand, the California case, with four times as many acres at stake, became the poster child for the "collaborative conservation" approach, using stakeholder collaboration and negotiation to achieve a compromise that ultimately broke down and ended up in the courts. Pralle analyzes how the various political actors-local and national environmental organizations, local residents, timber companies, and different levels of government-defined the issues in both words and images, created and reconfigured alliances, and drew in different governmental institutions to attempt to achieve their goals. She develops a dynamic new model of conflict management by advocacy groups that puts a premium on nimble timing, flexibility, targeting, and tactics to gain the advantage and shows that how political actors go about exploiting these opportunities and overcoming constraints is a critical part of the policy process.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-280-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acronyms
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    On July 1, 1993, environmental activists gathered outside Canadian embassies in England, Germany, Austria, Japan, and the United States holding placards and chanting slogans in an attempt to raise international awareness about Canada’s destructive logging practices. These demonstrations composed the first “International Day of Protest” to save the rain forests of Clayoquot Sound, a remote area on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. When the campaign to protect the sound was launched nearly fifteen years earlier, few people outside of Vancouver Island were aware of the extensive logging in the region, let alone concerned about it. But by...

  7. 1 The Expansion and Containment of Policy Conflict
    (pp. 13-32)

    When Congress started debating the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery and Economic Stability Act in the spring of 1997, opposition to the legislation by members of the environmental community was palpable. Nevertheless, leaders in the fight against the QLG forest plan were frustrated: They had generally failed to attract the attention of the broader environmental movement, let alone a wider public. The media was taking scant notice of the issue, and the stories that did appear were largely sympathetic to the QLG and their forest management plan. National environmental organizations, for their part, were late to get involved in the...

  8. Part I: The Expansion of Conflict in British Columbia Forest Politics
    • 2 Forest Policy in British Columbia and the Conflict over Clayoquot Sound
      (pp. 35-48)

      Forests are central to the ecology, economy, and politics of British Columbia. About two-thirds of the province is forested and is home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species. Forest products are one of the biggest exports in British Columbia, and the forest industry alone is a source of approximately ninety thousand jobs.¹ Beginning in the 1990s, forest management rose to the top of the provincial government’s agenda while also attracting increasing international attention. For much of its history, however, forest policy in British Columbia was formulated inside a relatively autonomous subsystem and generated little public controversy overall....

    • 3 Constructing the Global: Issue Expansion in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
      (pp. 49-77)

      The expansion of conflict over old-growth logging in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia, is a dramatic example of how issues can transform from local or regional problems into global ones. For many years, local antilogging groups on Vancouver Island battled the forestry industry in relative obscurity. In the 1980s, environmentalists faced off against prologging forces in a succession of isolated valleys in British Columbia—the Caramanah, the Walbran, the Bulson, the Stein. The conflict in each case was intense, yet relatively contained to those with a direct interest in forestry issues. Moreover, the scope of the debate was limited. As Jeremy...

    • 4 From Local to Global: Expanding Participation in Clayoquot Sound
      (pp. 78-110)

      The conflict in Clayoquot Sound began as a local issue concerning MacMillan Bloedel’s plans to log Meares Island. The industry and government’s response to the Meares conflict was not unlike their reaction to land-use conflicts prior to it: They made some concessions to environmentalists but offered these concessions “in the context of a strategy aimed at containing the movement” (J. Wilson 1990, 154). In the immediate wake of the Meares Island conflict, it looked as though the old patterns of containment might once again prevail. But by the end of 1993, when representatives from five Greenpeace offices around the world...

    • 5 Venue Shopping in an International Context
      (pp. 111-136)

      The previous chapter examined patterns of participation in the Clayoquot Sound case in order to understand why and how it attracted the participation of actors around the globe. Battles over who gets involved in an issue are important components of policy conflicts because the extent of audience participation changes the nature of the conflict and shapes policy outcomes. As participation increases, the balance of power among the original policy actors often shifts as segments of the public weigh in on one side or the other. In contrast, limited public participation tends to safeguard existing power relationships in the decision-making process....

  9. Part II: The Containment of Conflict in Northern California
    • 6 U.S. Forest Policy and the Birth of the Quincy Library Group
      (pp. 139-151)

      Forest policy and politics in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, home to nine national forests covering about nine million acres of public land, followed a similar historical path to that of other regions in the western United States. For the first part of the twentieth century, conflict over the use of forest resources was relatively contained as the forest service took a largely custodial approach to forest management (Schrepfer 1997). But this consensus broke down in the 1960s in response to an enormous increase in timber production in national forests after World War II coupled with the rise...

    • 7 Retreating to the Local: Issue Containment in Northern California
      (pp. 152-178)

      The battle over old-growth forests in the United States captured public attention throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s as the bitter fight over the ancient forests in the states of Washington and Oregon raged in and outside the courtroom. While the Pacific Northwest was the epicenter of the conflict in the United States, northern California was also experiencing its share of “timber wars.” The bitter rhetoric and occasional violence that characterized the conflict in the Pacific Northwest were less intense in the small logging towns of the northern Sierra Nevada but were not entirely absent either. In the town...

    • 8 Allies, Opponents, and Audiences: Containing Participation in the Quincy Library Group
      (pp. 179-202)

      In 1997, when the U.S. House of Representatives was debating the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery and Economic Stability Act, 140 environmental groups signed a letter to Congress expressing opposition to the legislation. But the House passed the bill over the objections of the environmental lobby, and passed it overwhelmingly—only one member of Congress, a Republican, voted against the legislation. How could this formidable display of strength and unity from the environmental community be ineffective in securing the votes of long-time allies like Representative George Miller and Senator Dianne Feinstein, not to mention other conservation-minded Democrats? The last chapter...

    • 9 Lawsuits, Libraries, and Legislatures: The Quincy Library Group and Venue Shopping
      (pp. 203-219)

      The preceding chapter illustrated how the QLG successfully contained participation in the conflict over its forest management plan. To members and supporters of the QLG, however, the idea that they had contained participation was absurd; members of the QLG note that the core group consisted of nearly thirty people and that meetings often drew more than one hundred citizens, at least in the early years. Moreover, Michael Jackson, one of the founders of the QLG, claims that they “begged” national environmental groups to send representatives to the meetings but to no avail: “What do you do when they won’t come?...

    • 10 Managing Policy Conflicts
      (pp. 220-232)

      This book began as an attempt to understand why two conflicts over similar substantive issues took such different trajectories, where one expanded internationally while the other was largely confined to the local level. Since Schattschneider (1960), scholars have recognized that the degree of conflict surrounding an issue shapes its development and resolution. Where there is little or no conflict, policy tends to be made by a relatively small set of policy specialists and stakeholders. When conflict is intense, a much wider range of players claims a stake in an issue, typically opening up opportunities for participation in the decision-making process...

  10. Appendix: Sample Interview Questions
    (pp. 233-236)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 237-250)
  12. References
    (pp. 251-266)
  13. Index
    (pp. 267-279)