Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Collaborative governance: A tool to manage scientific, administrative, and strategic uncertainties in environmental management?

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-10962-240215
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

Although uncertainty is a fundamental feature and challenge of environmental governance, the literature on how policy makers and resource managers can act effectively under that uncertainty is scarce. The focus is on managing scientific uncertainty, a lack of knowledge about the causes or consequences of an environmental problem or decision, when many other types of uncertainty can have drastic effects on decision makers’ ability to make timely, rational, or even satisficing decisions. Moreover, although suggestions on how to manage these uncertainties often revolve around collaborative governance, i.e., engaging scientists, decision makers, communities, and other stakeholders in joint decision making, collaboration is often framed as a one-size-fits-all approach. I aimed to broaden the conversation about collaboration as a tool for managing uncertainty, using a 4-year ethnographic study of a collaborative process to develop the operating license for a hydropower dam in California. Numerous types of uncertainties arose during the 4 years of negotiation, and these uncertainties often interacted in messy and hard-to-predict ways. Collaboration, especially creating the process and structure to openly discuss uncertainty, was an important tool for stakeholders to handle the uncertainties that arose, but it was insufficient to address all uncertainties. By exploring the many types of uncertainty that arose during negotiations, whether and how collaboration served to address these varieties of uncertainty, and how uncertainty affected the collaborative process, I aimed to add nuance to our understanding of when and where collaboration is a helpful tool for environmental decision makers.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item