This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Information Exchange Among Environmental Groups in Alabama and Romania




Robinson, Laura

Type of Degree



Forestry and Wildlife Sciences


According to resource mobilization theory, organizations need certain resources such as skills, money, and knowledge, to survive. For this research I consider information to be a key resource and use the resource mobilization theory to examine information exchange for 1) environmental groups in Alabama and 2) forestry nonprofits in Vrancea County, Romania. For nonprofit organizations, information is recognized in the literature as important, but the types and methods of information exchange often are not detailed. Obtaining reliable information is important for establishing credibility with citizens, politicians, regulators, and media. For the Alabama research, semi-structured, face-to-face and phone interviews were conducted with 136 of the 168 environmental groups thought to be active in Alabama. Data were collected on group attributes and the type and method of information exchange. The ideologically structured action framework is used to explain why environmental groups choose to exchange information with other groups. Social network analysis is used to examine the network structure of information exchange among these organizations. This research found that Alabama environmental groups are diverse in terms of their activities and ideology. Environmental groups with paid professional staff were the central groups in information exchange. The second part of the research examined forestry nonprofits in Vrancea County, Romania. The main objectives for this research are to examine the three main types of forest nonprofit actors, how information resources are mobilized, what the links are to other groups, and why nonprofits choose particular options available to them. Five weeks were spent in Romania performing semi-structured interviews with leaders of the three forest nonprofits types (obste - a type of community forest, forest association, and private forest district) in Vrancea County, Romania. Social network analysis was used to examine the network structure of information exchange of the forest nonprofits. Obste have local knowledge and require scientific and regulatory knowledge about their forest from the private forest districts and forest associations. The forest associations are comprised of several obste and provide a larger voice for the obste. The private forest districts are central actors in the information exchange network, providing a link between local obste and the government forestry sector. Problems of distrust limit the effectiveness of information exchange between different groups.