They work well, according to this article, and here’s probably an important reason why:
“The collaboratives advance the process by removing features that are sure to invite challenges and delays — like proposing new roads in a roadless area.”
My impression has been that it is easier to reach agreement on protecting undeveloped areas (or not) in both project plans and forest plans than it is to agree on conservation strategies for wildlife (which are the basis of a lot of litigation). Maybe the former is more political, which lends itself to negotiations, and the other is more scientific and/or legal, which does not? (Or maybe I’m imagining this difference.) Spending money to restore damaged streams also seems to work as a bargaining (for wood) chip.