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Branching Out, Digging In

Environmental Advocacy and Agenda Setting

Sarah B. Pralle

Publication Year: 2006

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 actorsùlocal and national environmental organizations, local residents, timber companies, and different levels of governmentùdefined 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.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Series: American Governance and Public Policy series


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pp. ix-x

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

I owe a great deal of thanks to many people whose participation in this project and support during my research and writing made this book possible. My greatest debt is to Peter May at the University of Washington, whose encouragement, guidance, and intellectual advice was unequaled. He was a sounding board for my ideas, helped me clarify my thinking, and read early versions ...


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pp. xv-xvi

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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...

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1. The Expansion and Containment of Policy Conflict

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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...

Part I: The Expansion of Conflict in British Columbia Forest Politics

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2. Forest Policy in British Columbia and the Conflict over Clayoquot Sound

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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. Beginning in the 1990s, forest management rose to ...

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3. Constructing the Global: Issue Expansion in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia

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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...

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4. From Local to Global: Expanding Participation in Clayoquot Sound

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pp. 78-110

The confl ict in Clayoquot Sound began as a local issue concerning Mac- Millan 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...

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5. Venue Shopping in an International Context

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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.

Part II: The Containment of Conflict in Northern California

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6. U.S. Forest Policy and the Birth of the Quincy Library Group

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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 ...

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7 Retreating to the Local: Issue Containment in Northern California

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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 ...

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8. Allies, Opponents, and Audiences: Containing Participation in the Quincy Library Group

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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, ...

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9. Lawsuits, Libraries, and Legislatures: The Quincy Library Group and Venue Shopping

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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...

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10. Managing Policy Conflicts

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pp. 220-232

This book began as an attempt to understand why two confl icts 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...

Appendix: Sample Interview Questions

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pp. 233-236


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pp. 237-250


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pp. 251-266


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pp. 267-279

E-ISBN-13: 9781589012806
E-ISBN-10: 1589012801
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589011236
Print-ISBN-10: 1589011236

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: American Governance and Public Policy series
Series Editor Byline: Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 298788634
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Branching Out, Digging In

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Subject Headings

  • Forest policy -- British Columbia -- Clayoquot Sound Region.
  • Forest policy -- California, Northern.
  • Forest management -- British Columbia -- Clayoquot Sound Region.
  • Forest management -- California, Northern.
  • Environmental policy -- British Columbia -- Calyoquot Sound Region.
  • Environmental policy -- California, Northern.
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