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Community Based Collaboratives Research Consortium

CBCRC is a network of researchers, mediators and facilitators, government agencies, community groups and environmental groups which seek to understand and assess local collaborative efforts involving natural resources and community development. CBCRC provides a venue for the sharing of research, evaluation and case studies; emerging stewardship issues and practice; and policy outcomes concerning community based collaborative processes. (Note: though the CBCRC hasn’t been active for several years, the website still hosts a lot of useful resources.)

What is a Community-Based Collaborative?

The consortium’s working definition of a community-based collaborative is a group that:

  • Has been convened voluntarily from within the local community to focus on a resource management issue(s) or planning involving public lands or publicly owned or regulated resources whose management impacts the physical, environmental and/or economic health of the local community,
  • Was brought together by a shared desire to influence the protection and use of natural resources through recommendations or direct actions that will impact the management of the resource,
  • Has membership that includes a broad array of interests, some of which may be in conflict, and
  • Utilizes a decision-making process that requires participation by local stakeholders.

What is the Consortium?

In 1999, a group of researchers, mediators and facilitators, community groups, environmental organizations and agencies convened in Tucson, Arizona to examine and discuss the controversies that had arisen over the increasing role of community-based collaborative groups in the management of local natural resources. The controversy was fueled by concern about the influence of local groups over resources that encompassed public goods such as public lands, endangered species, significant environmental resources and watersheds.

Participants at the Tucson meeting identified a need to learn more about these processes and to do so in a way that incorporated sound research methods and diverse ways of learning and sharing knowledge. Workshop participants formed the Community Based Collaboratives Research Consortium (CBCRC) to foster this work. The consortium brings together fields from conflict resolution and the social and natural sciences to address both the human and natural dynamics of collaboration concerning community environmental resources.

A key outcome of the Tucson meeting was the development of the consortium’s research agenda ‘Assessing Research Needs’ (http://www.cbcrc.org/documents.html). The consortium also developed a ‘Protocol and Guidelines for Ethical and Effective Research of Community Based Collaborative Processes’ to foster ethical research practice (http://www.cbcrc.org/documents.html). Since the Tucson gathering in 1999, the consortium has hosted five national workshops and funded thirteen research projects across the U.S. and Canada to address the consortium’s research agenda. Conference papers, presentations and consortium research papers are available on the consortium’s website.

Consortium Management

The consortium provides a venue for researchers, community groups, government agencies, funders and individuals to share their research, find out about new developments and studies concerning community based collaborative groups and to work in partnership with others. The Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia provides a clearinghouse function for the consortium, including design and management of the consortium’s web site and coordination of a 17-person steering committee, research projects and workshops.

Getting Involved in the Consortium

Membership in the consortium is free and open to all interested individuals, researchers, scientists, members of community groups, agency staff, mediators and facilitators, or funders who are working in the field of community-based collaboration. The consortium seeks to include members from a variety of affiliations, experiences, locations, and ethnic and social backgrounds. Consortium members include people from academia, government, conflict resolution and community and environmental organizations as well as graduate students. The consortium can not be used for any commercial purposes.

Participation in the work of the consortium can include becoming a research partner and engaging in research through studies, fieldwork or other activities and sharing research processes and results with other consortium members. It can also involve providing requested feedback on existing research and projects. The consortium has an on-line journal for researchers to share their work and an on-line discussion forum for interactive learning through the consortium’s member network. The consortium list serve is available for use by consortium members to advertise relevant workshops, share new research or to network with others who share similar interests.

Consortium members can:

  • Participate in reviews of research findings and new developments
  • Receive advance invitations to workshops and conferences
  • Gain access to the list serve and participate in on-line discussions
  • Join research efforts and contribute new ideas

Joining is easy!

Filling out the consortium’s online form at http://www.cbcrc.org under ‘Join the Consortium’ takes only a few moments. Those who join the consortium pledge to share knowledge and ideas with other members and keep the consortium apprised of their research and post new projects or resources to the consortium’s web site. Anyone with questions should contact CBCRC Project Director Franklin Dukes or CBCRC Coordinator Karen Firehock at cbcrc@virginia.edu or call 434-924-5041.

Resource Link: www.CBCRC.org

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