Adaptive Governance: Integrating Science, Policy, and Decision
Making. Edited by Ronald D. Brunner, Toddi A. Steelman, Lindy
Coe-Juell, Christina M. Cromley, Christine M. Edwards, and Donna W.
Tucker. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. 368p. $79.50 cloth,
Swimming Upstream: Collaborative Approaches to Watershed
Management. Edited by Paul A. Sabatier, Will Focht, Mark Lubell, Zev
Trachtenberg, Arnold Vedlitz, and Marty Matlock. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
2005. 327p. $65.00 cloth, $26.00 paper.
For almost two decades, alternative or environmental dispute
resolution (EDR) has been a hot topic for many scholars and practitioners
of environmental and natural resources policy and administration. There
are now many books and articles that examine the promises and pitfalls of
ERD. For the uninitiated, EDR can include any type of conflict or dispute
resolution that falls outside of the normal state or federal judicial or
bureaucratic system. This can include everything from negotiation,
mediation, and arbitration (commonly used in the legal system—and
not typically thought of as EDR) to things with names like collaborative,
cooperative, or collective management and adaptive governance. The
normally cited perquisites for ERD are that the negotiations be voluntary,
that the parties participate in the process directly, that participants
may withdraw from the process at any time, that third-party facilitators
have no formal authority to impose a decision, and that the parties agree
to whatever is decided. If this sounds like getting people together to
talk and work things out, that is because this is what it is.