• Open Access

Public versus expert opinions regarding public involvement processes used in resource and wildlife management


  • Editor
    Sarah Pralle

Stephen E. Decker, Sustainable Resource Management Program, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, A2H 6P9, Canada. E-mail: sdecker@swgc.mun.ca


Successful public involvement efforts can reduce conflict and build trust between resource managers and the public. Differences of opinion between the public and wildlife managers regarding the importance of various characteristics and methods of public involvement have implications for managers wishing to design effective public involvement processes. We compared and contrasted the preferences of German public and European experts in large mammal management regarding characteristics and methods of public involvement. Expert participants attributed high levels of importance to including scientific information in decision making while general public respondents attributed high levels of importance to the cost effectiveness and representativeness of the public involvement effort. Differences were also observed regarding public involvement methods. Experts preferred task forces and advisory groups while the general public preferred information materials and public meetings. We discuss the likely causes of similarities and differences between these two groups and examine the consequent implications for managers.