Steven L. Yaffee Ph.D.


Ph.D. Environmental Policy and Planning, 1979, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.S. Natural Resource Policy, 1973, University of Michigan

B.S. Resource Planning and Conservation, 1972, University of Michigan

My research focuses on how political processes and organizations make environmental policy choices, and how new collaborative structures can be developed to encourage more effective decision making. I am particularly interested in landscape-scale conservation and sustainable natural resource management, and how decision making institutions can be encouraged to take on an ecosystem-scale perspective. Of particular interest is policy involving biological diversity, public lands and energy. My research and teaching draws from substantial on-the-ground work with nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations in facilitating dispute resolution and collaborative problem-solving processes, and in helping them develop monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management strategies. I am committed to professional education at SNRE and teach skill-building courses in political and institutional analysis, negotiation and mediation

Awards and Grants:

Funding from the Packard and Hewlett Foundations for development of evaluation tools for collaborative ecosystem management processes Research Interests: Development and evaluation of ecosystem-based approaches to resource management, including ways to bridge geographic, political, organizational, and perceptual boundaries. Evaluation and conceptualization of public policies aimed at the conservation of biological diversity and the protection of endangered species of plants and animals. Evaluation of federal public lands policy and institutions.

Identification and analysis of alternative approaches to making collective choices, including topics in collaborative problem solving, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, and conflict management.

Current/Recent Research:

Learning from Experience with Marine Ecosystem-Based Management. Development of case studies and cross-case lessons from U.S. and worldwide examples in using an ecosystem management approach in coastal and marine systems.

Renewable Energy in the California Desert. Analysis of ecological and social impacts from utility-scale solar power development in the southern California desert.

Evaluation of the Preserving Wild California Program. External evaluation of a $150 million investment in wildlands conservation, including land acquisition, wilderness policy development, capacity building of land trusts and constituency building.

Ecosystem Management in the United States. Inventory and assessment of the experience at more than one hundred sites employing ecosystem-based approaches to resource management.

In Search of Excellence in the United States Forest Service. Survey and analysis of "success stories" where USFS personnel were effective at bridging the agency-nonagency boundary. Assessment of organizational change and innovation diffusion strategies to promote bridging among public and private organizations.

Policy Lessons from the Evolution of the Spotted Owl/Old Growth Controversy in the Pacific Northwest. Study of policy implications leading to publication of a book.


Teaching Interests:

Teaching interests include understanding political behavior and organizational dynamics affecting resource and environmental policy choices; negotiation and mediation skills; ecosystem management; public lands policy; and the history of American resource and environmental policy. The courses I teach are intended to develop professional skills in graduate students. Hence, they are generally grounded in real-world cases or role-play simulations so that they are quasi-experiential. I provide conceptual frameworks and summaries of the literature which we then apply to the real world situations to explore what a decision-maker or a negotiator should do.

Selected Publications:

Wondolleck, Julia M. and Steven L. Yaffee. 2000. Making Collaboration Work: Lessons from Innovation in Natural Resource Management (Washington, D.C.: Island Press).

Yaffee, Steven L. and Julia M. Wondolleck. 2000. Making Collaboration Work. Conservation Biology in Practice, 1(1):17-25.

Yaffee, Steven L. 1999. Three Faces of Ecosystem Management. Conservation Biology, 13(4): 713-725.

Yaffee, Steven L. 1998. Cooperation: A Strategy for Achieving Stewardship Across Boundaries. In: Stewardship Across Boundaries. Richard L. Knight and Peter Landes, eds. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press), 299-324.

Anderson, Jeremy and Steven Yaffee. 1998. Balancing Public Trust and Private Interest: Public Participation in Habitat Conservation Planning, A Summary Report. A research report commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation. (Ann Arbor: School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan).

Hoffman, Andrew, Max Bazerman, and Steven Yaffee. 1997. Balancing Business Interests and Endangered Species Protection. Sloan Management Review 39(1): 59-73.

Aengst, Peter, Jeremy Anderson, Jay Chamberlin, Christopher Grunewald, Susan Loucks, Elizabeth Wheatley, and Steven Yaffee. 1997. Introduction to Habitat Conservation Planning. Endangered Species Update 14(7&8): 5-9.

Yaffee, Steven L. 1997. Why Environmental Policy Nightmares Recur. Conservation Biology 11(2): 1-10.

Yaffee, Steven L. and Julia M. Wondolleck. 1997. Building Bridges Across Agency Boundaries. In: Creating a Forestry for the 21st Century: The Science of Ecosystem Management. Kathryn A. Kohm and Jerry F. Franklin, eds. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press), 381-396.

Yaffee, Steven L., Ali F. Phillips, Irene C. Frentz, Paul Hardy, Sussanne Maleki, and Barbara E. Thorpe. 1996. Ecosystem Management in the United States: An Assessment of Current Experience. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press).

Yaffee, Steven L. 1996. Ecosystem Management in Practice: The Importance of Human Institutions. Ecological Applications 6: 724-727.

Yaffee, Steven L. 1996. The Spotted Owl Controversy in the United States and its Implications for the Practice of Sustainable Forestry. Revue Forestiere Francaise. 48:51-64.

Yaffee, Steven L. 1995. Lessons About Leadership from the History of the Spotted Owl Controversy. Natural Resources Journal. 35(2):381-412.

Yaffee, Steven L. and Julia M. Wondolleck. 1995. Building Knowledge Pools and Relationsheds at the Forest Ecosystem Level. Journal of Forestry. 93:60.

Yaffee, Steven L. 1994. The Wisdom of the Spotted Owl: Policy Lessons for a New Century. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press).

Yaffee, Steven L. 1982. Prohibitive Policy: Implementing the Federal Endangered Species Act (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).