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Viewpoint: Implications of Participatory Democracy for Public Land Planning

Margaret A. Moote and Mitchel P. McClaran
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 50, No. 5 (Sep., 1997), pp. 473-481
DOI: 10.2307/4003701
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4003701
Page Count: 9
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Viewpoint: Implications of Participatory Democracy for Public Land Planning
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Abstract

Non-traditional, collaborative public participation approaches such as coordinated resource management have been proposed to improve the public participation process used in public land planning on rangelands. Either implicitly or explicitly, most advocates of such non-traditional approaches to public participation seem to embrace a participatory democracy model of governance. Whether or not this model for decision-making can practicably be implemented, given our current institutional and legal frameworks for public lands management, has not been closely examined. Criticisms of the traditional public participation process are categorized into 5 main issues: efficacy; representation and access; information exchange and learning; continuity of participation; and decision-making authority. We use these categories to evaluate the feasibility of implementing participatory democracy-based decision-making in public lands planning. Although there is some statutory and regulatory authority for participatory democracy in public land planning, there are a number of logistical, legal, and even philosophical challenges to its application that warrant further consideration.

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