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Communicating ecology in local planning: The role of embedded ecologists
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5796-7728
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Local decision making needs to apply ecological knowledge (EK) to promote sustainable outcomes. Scientific and local EK can be incorporated by including knowledgable individuals in planning teams. This paper looks at the potential to integrate EK in planning institutions, by studying how 27 "embedded ecologists" communicate knowledge in 18 municipalities in the Stockholm region in Sweden. The analysis identifies communication patterns based on the terminology and form of EK that the surveyed ecologists prioritize in discussions with planners and politicians. The results show that maps and the meaning and direct benefit of nature to citizens are prioritized in planning discussions, since such EK can be accommodated in the current planning discourse. Knowledge regarding species and ecological complexity were more difficult to integrate, since it required simplification or translation to a citizen perspective on nature, or that the ecologist played a "communication role" that conflicted with the planning discourse. Three different communication roles are outlined, by contrasting their perspectives on EK and their likely causes and outcomes in the planning process. Recommendations are given about how governance institutions can make better use of embedded ecologists for in-house ecological knowledge.

Keyword [en]
Coproduction of knowledge; Decision support; Ecological communication; Ecological knowledge; Embedded ecologist; Land-­use planning; Spatial planning
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97614OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97614DiVA: diva2:679576
Available from: 2013-12-16 Created: 2013-12-16 Last updated: 2013-12-18
In thesis
1. Spatial complexity and fit between ecology and management: Making sense of patterns in fragmented landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial complexity and fit between ecology and management: Making sense of patterns in fragmented landscapes
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Avoiding the negative effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity is especially challenging when also the management institutions are spatially and administratively distributed. This doctoral thesis introduces five case studies that investigate ecological, social and social-ecological relations in fragmented landscapes. I present new approaches in which research and governance can detect and manage mismatches between landscape ecology and planning. The case studies include urban and forested landscapes where an intense land-use is limiting the connectivity, i.e., the potential for many species to disperse between the remaining patches of habitat. Graph-theoretic (network) models are applied to map connectivity patterns and to estimate the outcome for dispersing species at the patch level and for the whole study system. In particular, the network models are applied to evaluate the spatial complexity and the potential mismatches between ecological connectivity and geographically distributed management institutions like protected areas and municipalities. Interviews with municipal ecologists complement the spatial analysis; revealing some problems and ways forward regarding the communication and integration of ecological knowledge within local spatial-planning agencies. The results also show that network models are useful to identify and communicate critical ecological and social-ecological patterns that call for management attention. I suggest some developments of network models as to include interactions between species and across governance levels. Finally, I conclude that more effort is needed for network models to materialize into ecological learning and transformation in management processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2013. 30 p.
Keyword
Connectivity; Conservation; Dispersal; Ecological knowledge; Ecology; Forest; Fragmentation; Graph theory; Institutional fit; Landscape; Management; Metapopulation; Municipal ecologist; Network; Planning; Protected area; Scale mismatch; Social-Ecological; Urban; Wetland
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97618 (URN)978-91-7447-834-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-01-21, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-12-29 Created: 2013-12-16 Last updated: 2014-11-07Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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