The Role of Trust in Collaborative Natural Resource Management

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation examines how trust develops in landscape level collaborative natural resource management efforts. I took a case study approach to research four projects in the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). I conducted qualitative analysis of interviews, notes and observations from site visits and archival documents to understand the role and function of trust within my four case studies. The results are organized into five chapters: an introduction chapter, three manuscripts intended for stand-alone publication (Chapters 2-4), and a conclusion chapter. Chapter 2 reports on the development and function of trust within the four collaboratives I studied. Chapter 3 discusses the roles of facilitators and coordinators for engendering and maintaining trust. Chapter 4 examines three of the four case studies and compares the observed trust outcomes to the literature on traditional forms of public involvement. Finally, Chapter 5 synthesizes the findings from Chapters 2-4. These results provide useful information about the types of trust that contribute to successful collaborative efforts, as well as identify some of the practices and structures that engender those types of trust.

trust, Collaboration, natural resource management, natural resource planning