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Table 1 Contrasts between the NRM and planning professions to aid in ongoing cross-fertilization

From: A second-take on the role of science: the case for applying public administration theory to natural resource management

Resource managementPlanning
1. Theoretical development about NRM has been weak on approaches but strong on practice.Planning theory is about explaining approaches to decision-making, but is weak on practice.
2. The nature of NRM, its ethic and intent are not clear at a theoretical level.The nature of planning, its ethic and intent are relatively clear, because theoretical development has been substantial.
3. In NRM environmental and economic objectives tend to be more important than social objectives; and a conflict remains between environmental and economic objectives.In planning social and economic objectives tend to be more important than environmental objectives; and planning theory has addressed the influence of these objectives.
4. NRM policy and legislation defines practice in states and provides some indication of the underlying ethic and the approaches taken.Planning is supported by a legislative base which enables a range of approaches, including negotiation. This base is supported by planning theory.
5. Resource management takes a rational and participatory approach, but has not debated the spectrum from rational to incremental approaches. It can be described as a participatory form of incrementalism.\The spectrum from rational to incremental approaches to planning has been debated and planning has been placed at the incremental end, without rejecting rationalism.
6. Theory about participation in resource management is limited and apparent conflict between rational and participatory approaches remains.Planning theory has discussed the adoption of public participation, partly through participatory environmentalism. Participation has been described as part of the solution to dispute.
7. In resource management decision-making has tended to be more about process, whereas implementation has tended to be more about outcomes.In planning, decision-making has moved from a prescriptive approach to negotiation. Implementation tends to be conducted through prescriptive development assessment.
8. Adaptive management characterises the approach of resource management. Whilst it takes a rational and sometimes also a participatory approach, it is actually incremental in outcome.Adaptive management has not been adopted by planning. However, Planning theory, especially about incrementalism and contingencies, sheds light on the nature of adaptive management.
9. The role of the resource manager is not clear, even though theory about resource management tends to be about practice. Theoretical development tends to be within rather than across professions and tends to be about case studies.The role of the Planner is in one sense better defined, because of the substantial theoretical development, despite the difficulty in defining planning and the interdisciplinary nature of the profession.
10. Resource managers have developed, discussed and adopted empirical and participatory techniques and have tended to apply them to improve rational decision-making. So, creativity and the design of solutions tends not to be valued.Planners have developed, discussed and adopted fewer empirical and participatory techniques, relying more on professional judgement, which allows for creativity and the design of solutions.
11. Despite an emphasis on rationality in resource management, the use of participatory approaches and information about social issues has increased. However, consultation is sometimes tokenistic.The use of participatory approaches in planning has increased. However, its use has tended to be less open. As planning has become more about negotiation, advocacy has increased.
12. Resource managers spend most of their time developing and implementing plans and to some extent conducting evaluation. The emphasis on evaluation is strong and it is often conducted on a case-by-case basis.A greater number of planners spend their time assessing developments against plans, rather than evaluating plans. Planners rarely evaluate the outcomes of specific plans.
13. Resource managers have rarely debated the role of politics, which they tend to view as an influence on rational decision-making, instead of a way of making decisions.Planners have discussed politics, which they tend to view as a method of decision-making, a method which is compatible with incrementalism.
14. Resource managers often conduct management in rural areas and address management issues facing these areas. They have recognised the complex nature of these issues.Planning occurs less often in rural areas but is being extended. When it does occur in rural areas, it tends to be to manage future development, rather than to solve physical problems. However, Planners have discussed the complex nature of environmental issues.