Communicating ecology in local planning: The role of embedded ecologists
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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.
Coproduction of knowledge; Decision support; Ecological communication; Ecological knowledge; Embedded ecologist; Land-use planning; Spatial planning
Research subject Natural Resources Management
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97614OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97614DiVA: diva2:679576