The book presents a comprehensive presentation of why environmental disputes exist in America and Worldwide. It also offers models and insights for resolution.
After Jim Caplan helped coach managers during and after the Mio Fire in Michigan, Forest Service leaders asked Jim to write up his theories and guidelines for environmental dispute resolution, ideas Jim had developed in graduate school. Jim did so and he delivered Conflict Management and Crisis Control: A Manager's Guide (1980) to Eastern Region leadership just before leaving for a permanent assignment in the Forest Service Alaska Region. In Alaska, Jim assisted regional leadership with public involvement and state relations, eventually becoming Regional Public Affairs Director. In 1987, Jim left Alaska for Wyoming, becoming Supervisory Land Use Planner in charge of completing the Bridger-Teton National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. Then-Chief of the Forest Service, Max Peterson referred to the plan as the most controversial in the lower-48. Jim successfully completed the plan and environmental impact statement in 1989 having garnered wide-spread public support and no law suits. Throughout this assignment, Jim used public participation methods taught by the Institute for Participatory Planning and Management and his own concepts embodied in Conflict Management and Crisis Control. In 1990, he received an assignment with the Forest Service New Perspectives Team as Assistant Director for Communications and Planning in Washington, DC. When that successful assignment ended in 1992, Jim was appointed as national Public Affairs Director and served in that role until 1996 when Chief Jack Ward Thomas appointed him Deputy Regional Forester for Natural Resources in Alaska. Jim served in this role until 2002, including a one-year stint as acting Regional Forester. Because of the Clinton-Bush administration change and political pressure in Alaska, Jim was reassigned to the Umpqua National Forest as Forest Supervisor in 2002 and served in that role until 2006. At that time, he returned to Washington DC as Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief for National Forest System, before retiring in 2007 to lead a Red Cross county-level organization for two years. While in DC, Jim rewrote Conflict Management and Crisis Control on his own time to incorporate more than 25 years of front-line Forest Service experience in environmental dispute resolution. Eventually two books evolved from that effort, The Theory and Principles of Environmental Dispute Resolution (2007, rev. 2010) and The Practice of Environmental Dispute Resolution (2007, rev. 2010).