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The Role of Social Capital and Collaborative Negotiations in Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plans



The Role of Social Capital and Collaborative Negotiations in Multiple Species Habitat Conversation Plans


Nancy A. Jimeno

Doctor of Philosophy, Graduate Program in Political Science

University of California, Riverside, June 2012

Dr. Juliann Allison, Chairperson

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) were established by Congress in 1982 as an amendment to the way the federal Endangered Species Act is implemented on private property. HCPs are an example of a negotiation structure that is established within a legal framework which acts as an "institutional channel" mandating collaborative negotiations and consensus-based decision making. This dissertation examines how competing stakeholders, working within a collaborative negotiation process toward a common goal, establish Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plans (MSHCP). I argue that the collaborative negotiation model inherent in the MSHCP process fosters social capital that acts as a catalyst, drawing those with divergent ideologies and opposing interests into productive negotiations and toward reaching a workable compromise. Participants negotiate their own regulatory terms, working under a strong legal framework that provides assurances that their "voices" have been heard. While the result may be a consensus that is not preferred by individual participants, it is a consensus that participants as a whole agree they are willing to live with. When a compromise is reached, it is deemed legitimate and is therefore less likely to face legal challenge.

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