Nie, State Wildlife Policies - Martin Nie University of...

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State Wildlife Policy and Management 221 Martin Nie University of Montana State Wildlife Policy and Management: The Scope and Bias of Political Conflict State wildlife policy and management are often characterized by divisive political conflict among competing stakeholders. This conflict is increasingly being resolved through the ballot-initiative process. One important reason the process is being used so often is the way state wildlife policy and management decisions are often made by state wildlife commissions, boards, or councils (the dominant way these decisions are made in the United States). These bodies are often perceived by important stakeholders as biased, exclusive, or unrepresentative of nonconsumptive stakeholder values. As a result, unsatisfied interest groups often try to take decision-making authority away from these institutions and give it to the public through the ballot initiative. Cases and examples from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho are examined in this context. The article finishes by outlining four broad alternatives that may be debated in the future: the no change alternative, the authoritative expert alternative, the structural change alternative, and the stakeholder-based col- laborative conservation alternative(s). The controversy surrounding state wildlife policy mak- ing and management is likely to become more prevalent in the future. The move toward ecosystem management, conservation biology, and large-mammal restoration will place state wildlife agencies in a more visible public po- sition. Many endangered species and fish and wildlife pro- grams throughout the country are already illustrating the challenges facing wildlife managers (Clark 1997; Clark, Reading, and Clarke 1994; Mangun 1992; Mangun and Mangun 1991). For example, once wolves are removed from the Endangered Species Act list, wolf management will seriously challenge the way that state wildlife agen- cies are funded and how they make policy and manage- ment decisions. The goal of this article is to clarify issues and promote a more inclusive democratic debate among decision mak- ers, stakeholders, and the public about the scope, struc- ture, and process of state wildlife policy making and management. It uses the case of wildlife-centered political conflict to examine the important interactions among stake- holders, political institutions, decision-making processes, and approaches to conflict resolution. Specifically, it sheds light on the question of why important interest groups and stakeholders sometimes try to move wildlife issues from traditional decision-making institutions to the ballot-ini- tiative process. In doing so, it provides a macro-level look at the state wildlife policy-making process, including is- sues related to state wildlife commissions, wildlife-related ballot initiatives, and the use of stakeholder-based collabo- rative conservation. A number of wildlife conflicts and cases are referred to
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This note was uploaded on 03/11/2010 for the course PS 225 taught by Professor Pahre,r during the Fall '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Nie, State Wildlife Policies - Martin Nie University of...

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