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Environmental Bargains: Power Struggles and Decision Making over British Columbia's and Tasmania's Old-Growth Forests

Affolderbach, Julia


Julia Affolderbach


Over the past few decades, conflicts over resources have increased in scale and intensity. They are frequently dominated by environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) that fight, boycott, lobby, and negotiate with other interest groups to privilege nonindustrial, particularly environmental, values of resources. This article proposes an environmental bargaining framework to analyze the many and varied forms of interactions and processes through which ENGOs seek to change existing practices and decision structures. Drawing on political economy and political ecology approaches, environmental bargaining recognizes the importance of multiple perspectives, strategies of actors, and the regional context. Conceptually, the article interprets environmental conflicts along two dimensions: the distribution of power between actors and forms of interaction ranging from confrontational to collaborative. Examples from British Columbia, Canada, and Tasmania, Australia, reveal the value of comparative perspectives and the importance of the regional context that determines behavior and relationships between actors. While confrontational action has brought considerable change to Tasmania's forests, the example from British Columbia suggests that collaborative forms of decision making that are based on a balance of power have more potential to protect environmental values and bring peace to the woods. © 2011 Clark University.


Affolderbach, J. (2011). Environmental Bargains: Power Struggles and Decision Making over British Columbia's and Tasmania's Old-Growth Forests. Economic geography, 87(2), 181-206.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 21, 2010
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2011
Publication Date 2011-04
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2018
Journal Economic Geography
Print ISSN 0013-0095
Electronic ISSN 1944-8287
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 87
Issue 2
Pages 181-206
Keywords Environmental bargaining; Forest conflicts; ENGOs; British Columbia; Tasmania
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