The type of public participation or community consultation process used by communities to resolve natural resource management issues will have a major impact on the types of decisions which result. A familiar process is the "expert" model where expertise is delivered to the community rather than reflecting a true collaborative learning process with community members. An alternative is deliberation, a community-based process where community members engage incollaborative learning and find courses of action valuable to the community as a whole, and not those which represent just a few interests. This paper discusses two case studies - the development of Water Sharing Plans by River Management Committees in New South Wales, Australia, and concern over potential intensive livestock operations in Saline County, Missouri, USA - and compares how the different processes were used to resolve natural resource management issues.


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