Conservation of resources for sustainable ecosystems: a dialogue on connecting science, policy, and management

TitleConservation of resources for sustainable ecosystems: a dialogue on connecting science, policy, and management
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHavstad K, Brown J., Peters DC, Bestelmeyer BT, Fredrickson E.L., Pieper, Rex D., Herrick JE
Conference NameSociety for Range Management, 60th Annual Meeting and Trade Show
Date PublishedFebruary 9-16, 2
Conference LocationReno/Sparks, NV
ARIS Log Number209003
Keywordsmanagement, natural resources, policy, science, sustainable
AbstractFor over a century rangeland science has focused, with varying degrees of success, on issues of sustainable goods and services. Our goal in this paper is to analyze this research history for insights into how best to link science, policy, and management of natural resources. We describe three broad periods of rangeland science during the 20th century: 1) a Utilitarian period of the early 20th century where science was closely linked to livestock management use and grazing related policies, followed by 2) a Decoupled Period where science schizophrenically worked to serve disparate management and policy emphases of optimal yields of traditional products and identifying ecological limits and alternative ecological services, and 3) a Reconnection Period where science is slowly redefining the linkages to policy and management as fundamental ecological paradigms have changed and new management tools and policy goals are being developed. During this third period the uses and users of science have changed (both in interest and sophistication) and broadened. The three key, overriding science goals of relevance, impact, and transparency, for all fields of applied ecology have acquired new dimensions during this last Period. Given our current ecological understanding of rangelands, relevance now requires experimental approaches that span multiple spatial and temporal scales. Impact today also requires establishing improved connections to and, in some cases, direct involvement of users in the conduct of that science. Finally, continued public trust requires that all aspects of that scientific method, including data and their analyses and interpretations, need to be open and accessible. Unless we can integrate these new dimensions into our practice of rangeland science, we will not be supported by either managers or policy makers.