Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Charles C. Harris; Erik A. Nielsen; Dennis R. Becker; Dale J. Blahna; William J. McLaughlin
    Date: 2012
    Source: Environmental Management. 50: 191-203
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.04 MB)


    Participatory processes for obtaining residents' input about community impacts of proposed environmental management actions have long raised concerns about who participates in public involvement efforts and whose interests they represent. This study explored methods of broad-based involvement and the role of deliberation in social impact assessment. Interactive community forums were conducted in 27 communities to solicit public input on proposed alternatives for recovering wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest US. Individuals identified by fellow residents as most active and involved in community affairs ("AE residents") were invited to participate in deliberations about likely social impacts of proposed engineering and ecological actions such as dam removal. Judgments of these AE participants about community impacts were compared with the judgments of residents motivated to attend a forum out of personal interest, who were designated as self-selected ("SS") participants. While the magnitude of impacts rated by SS participants across all communities differed significantly from AE participants' ratings, in-depth analysis of results from two community case studies found that both AE and SS participants identified a large and diverse set of unique impacts, as well as many of the same kinds of impacts. Thus, inclusion of both kinds of residents resulted in a greater range of impacts for consideration in the environmental impact study. The case study results also found that the extent to which similar kinds of impacts are specified by AE and SS group members can differ by type of community. Study results caution against simplistic conclusions drawn from this approach to community-wide public participation. Nonetheless, the results affirm that deliberative methods for community-based impact assessment involving both AE and SS residents can provide a more complete picture of perceived impacts of proposed restoration activities.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Harris, Charles C.; Nielsen, Erik A.; Becker, Dennis R.; Blahna, Dale J.; McLaughlin, William J. 2012. Results of community deliberation about social impacts of ecological restoration: comparing public input of self-selected versus actively engaged community members. Environmental Management. 50: 191-203.


    social impact assessment, public involvement, public deliberation, community-based resource management, ecological restoration, salmon recovery

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page