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The Policy Process

The Policy Process: A Practical Guide for Natural Resources Professionals

Susan G. Clark
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    The Policy Process
    Book Description:

    This useful book is designed to teach natural resources professionals how to be more effective in solving conservation and environmental policy problems. Its presentation of basic concepts, case studies, and "real world concerns" provides a deeper understanding of the policy process and makes the book an invaluable aid for students and practitioners in such fields as wildlife biology, conservation biology, forestry, range management, ecosystem management, and sustainable development.Susan G. Clark begins by describing the challenges faced by natural resources professionals. She then explains how the substance and process of policy analysis and decision making can be improved by using a policy sciences framework that takes into account biological, social, political, and institutional considerations. Finally she reflects on how issues of human rights and morality should affect natural resources management and policy analysis. The book is very user-friendly.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18567-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction: Professional Challenges
    (pp. 1-16)

    The work of professionals is to apply their special knowledge and skills responsibly in resolving societal problems in the common interest. This is not a simple, straightforward task. As George Albee (1982) noted, the more professionals become involved in real-world problems, the more politically enlightened they become, realizing that actual prevention of environmental misuses must involve social and political changes. These dimensions of management and policy are by far the most complex and challenging part of being a natural resource professional.

    This chapter characterizes these challenges and the limitations of conventional problem solving and introduces the policy process within which...

  5. 2 Fundamentals: A View of Individuals and Society
    (pp. 17-31)

    It is the job of policy-oriented professionals to help people clarify and secure their common interests. As we discussed, policy is a process of problem solving among people with varying perspectives and interests, as true for natural resources as for any other issue. So it is with people that we begin our inquiry.

    Complex policy issues bring to light the many demands that different groups of people make, their aspirations and hopes as well as their fears, their expectations, their personalities and identities, their needs, their strategies. For the professionals involved, however, basic concepts of what motivates individual and collective...

  6. 3 Social Process: Mapping the Context
    (pp. 32-55)

    We all understand, of course, that people are involved in natural resource problems. It is often extremely difficult to analyze and solve the problems because of the complex, competing interests of many participants with diverse perspectives, large geographic areas and long time spans, and other factors. However we relate to natural resources, use, misuse, exploitation, management, and conservation are all decidedly human activities that serve varied needs for varied groups of people. The interaction of every individual and organized interest in society—in other words, the social process—constitutes the context of every resource problem, and neither the problems nor...

  7. 4 Decision Process: Clarifying and Securing the Common Interest
    (pp. 56-84)

    All kinds of decisions are made daily about natural resources. Some result in immediate consumption of resources, whereas others defer utilization, some concern local areas, and some affect resource use globally. The outcomes and effects of our decision making will determine what kind of world we and our children will inhabit. Mapping the social process, the context in which natural resource problems occur, gives us the principal components of people’s behavior—what makes up their differing perspectives, how they deploy their base values, how various situations affect their actions, and how to measure the outcomes and long-term effects of their...

  8. 5 Problem Orientation: Focusing on Problems to Find Solutions
    (pp. 85-110)

    Too often when natural resource problems arise, people jump immediately to recommend solutions. Of course, the very aim of management is to solve problems that threaten sustainable use of resources. But multiple solutions may be promoted, some of which may conflict, cause new problems, or offend some people. Even if people agree on a solution, it may address only parts of the problem or not actually solve the problem. Being conventionally “solution minded” rather than effectively “problem minded” means that we tend to make assumptions about people’s goals, pay too little attention to what has happened in the past and...

  9. 6 Policy-Oriented Professionalism: A Unique Statepoint
    (pp. 111-126)

    All participants in decision processes related to natural resource policy and management have their own perspectives, base values, and strategies that they use to affect outcomes. This is also true of policy-oriented professionals, but these individuals seek to maintain a different kind of outlook, a special standpoint relative to the decision processes of which they are a part. Having a policy orientation means being interested explicitly in gaining knowledge and insight into the decision process in which you are both a participant and an “anthropological” observer. It entails using this perspective as well as knowledge and skills to aid other...

  10. 7 Policy Analysis and Multiple Methods
    (pp. 127-152)

    Learning about a particular policy process so that it can be improved and at the same time mobilizing pertinent, substantive knowledge requires diverse methods and skills. But it is not clear that the training that most natural resource professionals receive in the science and management of water, soils, air, forests, range, wildlife, landscaping, or recreation adequately prepares them for policy analytic work. Too often their training creates the misimpression that their work is separate from public policy processes or the power process, indeed, that they should have little to do with policy or values. Whether your work involves examining management...

  11. 8 Natural Resources, Human Rights, and Policy Learning
    (pp. 153-172)

    People everywhere share an interest in a healthy environment. The growing human rights movement is well aware that a quality environment is requisite for a rich, full life and that none of us can thrive and achieve our full potential in a polluted, degraded environment (Zerner 2000). This seems self-evident. To achieve a world of human dignity in healthy environments—sustaining the centuries of labor by untold millions that have brought us to this level—will require us to learn as quickly, as earnestly, and as wisely as possible how to manage our resources and our own behavior. This challenge...

  12. Appendix: Interdisciplinary, Problem-Solving Workshops for Natural Resource Professionals
    (pp. 173-190)
    Susan G. Clark, Robert J. Begg and Kim W. Lowe
  13. Literature Cited
    (pp. 191-206)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-215)