Center for Environmental Policy and Administration

Branching Out, Digging In: Environmental Advocacy and Agenda Setting

Author:Sarah Pralle
Date: 2006
Publication:Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

This book explores how advocacy groups negotiate and strategize in increasingly competitive and complex political situations. By focusing on two cases of forest policy in the U.S. and Canada, which, given their similarities and differences, had unexpected outcomes, Pralle shows the different ways advocacy groups exploit new opportunities and overcome constraints. Both cases, the Clayoquot Sound controversy in British Columbia and the Quincy Library Group case in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California, centered around conflicts between environmentalists seeking to preserve old-tree forests and timber companies fighting to preserve their logging privileges. Both marked important episodes in the history of forest politics in their respective countries, but with dramatically different results. The Clayoquot Sound controversy spawned the largest civil disobedience in Canadian history, international demonstrations in Japan, England, Germany, Austria, and the United States, and the most significant changes in British Columbia's forest policy in decades. On the other hand, the California case, with four times as many acres at stake, became the poster child for the "collaborative conservation" approach, using stakeholder collaboration and negotiation to achieve a compromise which ultimately broke down and ended up in the courts. Pralle analyzes how the various advocacy groups--local and national environmental organizations, local residents, timber companies, and different levels of government--defined the issues in both words and images, created and reconfigured alliances, and drew in different governmental institutions to attempt to achieve their goals. She develops a dynamic new model of conflict management by advocacy groups that puts a premium on nimble timing, flexibility, targeting, and tactics to gain the advantage.


Sarah Pralle
Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 12/01/2010 08:22:01