Achieving conservation science that bridges the knowledge-action boundary

Cook, Carly N., Mascia, Michael B., Schwartz, Mark W., Possingham, Hugh P. and Fuller, Richard A. (2013) Achieving conservation science that bridges the knowledge-action boundary. Conservation Biology, 27 4: 669-678. doi:10.1111/cobi.12050


Author Cook, Carly N.
Mascia, Michael B.
Schwartz, Mark W.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Fuller, Richard A.
Title Achieving conservation science that bridges the knowledge-action boundary
Translated title Logrando que la Ciencia de la Conservación Trasponga la Frontera Conocimiento-Acción
Language of Title eng
spa
Journal name Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
Language of Journal Name eng
ISSN 0888-8892
1523-1739
Publication date 2013-08-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/cobi.12050
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 27
Issue 4
Start page 669
End page 678
Total pages 10
Place of publication United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
spa
Abstract There are many barriers to using science to inform conservation policy and practice. Conservation scientists wishing to produce management-relevant science must balance this goal with the imperative of demonstrating novelty and rigor in their science. Decision makers seeking to make evidence-based decisions must balance a desire for knowledge with the need to act despite uncertainty. Generating science that will effectively inform management decisions requires that the production of information (the components of knowledge) be salient (relevant and timely), credible (authoritative, believable, and trusted), and legitimate (developed via a process that considers the values and perspectives of all relevant actors) in the eyes of both researchers and decision makers. We perceive 3 key challenges for those hoping to generate conservation science that achieves all 3 of these information characteristics. First, scientific and management audiences can have contrasting perceptions about the salience of research. Second, the pursuit of scientific credibility can come at the cost of salience and legitimacy in the eyes of decision makers, and, third, different actors can have conflicting views about what constitutes legitimate information. We highlight 4 institutional frameworks that can facilitate science that will inform management: boundary organizations (environmental organizations that span the boundary between science and management), research scientists embedded in resource management agencies, formal links between decision makers and scientists at research-focused institutions, and training programs for conservation professionals. Although these are not the only approaches to generating boundary-spanning science, nor are they mutually exclusive, they provide mechanisms for promoting communication, translation, and mediation across the knowledge-action boundary. We believe that despite the challenges, conservation science should strive to be a boundary science, which both advances scientific understanding and contributes to decision making.
Formatted abstract
There are many barriers to using science to inform conservation policy and practice. Conservation scientists wishing to produce management-relevant science must balance this goal with the imperative of demonstrating novelty and rigor in their science. Decision makers seeking to make evidence-based decisions must balance a desire for knowledge with the need to act despite uncertainty. Generating science that will effectively inform management decisions requires that the production of information (the components of knowledge) be salient (relevant and timely), credible (authoritative, believable, and trusted), and legitimate (developed via a process that considers the values and perspectives of all relevant actors) in the eyes of both researchers and decision makers. We perceive 3 key challenges for those hoping to generate conservation science that achieves all 3 of these information characteristics. First, scientific and management audiences can have contrasting perceptions about the salience of research. Second, the pursuit of scientific credibility can come at the cost of salience and legitimacy in the eyes of decision makers, and, third, different actors can have conflicting views about what constitutes legitimate information. We highlight 4 institutional frameworks that can facilitate science that will inform management: boundary organizations (environmental organizations that span the boundary between science and management), research scientists embedded in resource management agencies, formal links between decision makers and scientists at research-focused institutions, and training programs for conservation professionals. Although these are not the only approaches to generating boundary-spanning science, nor are they mutually exclusive, they provide mechanisms for promoting communication, translation, and mediation across the knowledge–action boundary. We believe that despite the challenges, conservation science should strive to be a boundary science, which both advances scientific understanding and contributes to decision making.

Hay muchas barreras para utilizar ciencia para informar a la política y práctica de la conservación. Los científicos de la conservación que desean producir ciencia relevante para el manejo deben equilibrar esta meta con el imperativo de demostrar novedad y rigor en su ciencia. Los tomadores de decisiones que buscan que sus decisiones se basen en evidencias deben equilibrar el deseo de conocimientos con la necesidad de actuar a pesar de la incertidumbre. La generación de ciencia que informe efectivamente a las decisiones de manejo requiere que la producción de información (los componentes del conocimiento) sea sobresaliente (relevante y oportuna), creíble (autoritativa, verosímil y confiable) y legítima (desarrollada mediante un proceso que considera los valores y perspectivas de todos los actores relevantes) a la vista tanto de investigadores como de tomadores de decisiones. Percibimos tres retos clave para quienes desean generar ciencia de la conservación que logre estas tres características de la información. Primero, las audiencias científicas y de manejo pueden tener percepciones contrastantes sobre la relevancia de la investigación. Segundo, la credibilidad se puede lograr a costa de la relevancia y legitimidad a la vista de los tomadores de decisiones y tercero, los diferentes actores pueden tener percepciones conflictivas sobre los que constituye información legítima. Resaltamos cuatro marcos institucionales que pueden facilitar que la ciencia informe al manejo: organizaciones de frontera (organizaciones ambientales que trasponen la frontera entre la ciencia y el manejo), investigadores científicos insertados en agencias de manejo de recursos, vínculos formales entre tomadores de decisiones y científicos en instituciones enfocadas a la investigación, y programas de capacitación para profesionales de la conservación. Aunque estos no son los únicos métodos para generar ciencia que traspone fronteras, ni son mutuamente excluyentes, proporcionan mecanismos que promueven la comunicación, traslación y mediación para trasponer la frontera conocimiento-acción. Consideramos que no obstante los retos, la ciencia de la conservación debería pugnar por ser una ciencia de frontera, que incrementa el entendimiento científico y contribuye a la toma de decisiones.
Keyword Boundary organizations
Boundary science
Decision making
Environmental management
Implementation gap
Scientific uncertainty
Environmental-management
Decision-making
Biologists
Policy
Crisis
Implementation
Uncertainty
Information
Landscape
Ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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