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Policymakers, scientists agree on top research questions in natural resource management

Date:
February 5, 2014
Source:
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Summary:
A survey of natural resource managers, policymakers and their advisers, and scientists has found that these groups have surprisingly similar ideas about which research questions are most important for increasing the effectiveness of US natural resource management policies. The question seen as most important was about the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater needed to sustain the US human population and ecosystem resilience.

Natural resource managers, policymakers and their advisers, and scientists have similar ideas about which research questions could, if answered, most increase the effectiveness of US natural resource management policies.

A survey of over 600 members of those professional groups revealed how they ranked the importance of 40 management-relevant research questions identified in earlier work. Respondents judged the most important of the 40 questions to be the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater that will be necessary to sustain US human populations and ecosystem resilience during the next 100 years.

The Internet-based survey that yielded the rankings is described in an article to be published in the March issue of BioScience by Murray Rudd, of the University of York, United Kingdom, and Erica Fleishman, of the University of California, Davis. The researchers used a technique called best-worst scaling to eliminate some of the biases that often confound rating studies: respondents repeatedly ranked small subsets of the 40 questions. The questions had been identified earlier by natural resource managers, policymakers, and their advisers.

Statistical analysis of the survey results revealed the existence of subgroups with similar ideas about the importance of some questions, but there were no significant differences between policymakers and scientists, a result that surprised Rudd and Fleishman. They are continuing to analyze results from this and a follow-up survey on related questions.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Biological Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erica Fleishman, David E. Blockstein, John A. Hall, Michael B. Mascia, Murray A. Rudd, J. Michael Scott, William J. Sutherland, Ann M. Bartuska, A. Gordon Brown, Catherine A. Christen, Joel P. Clement, Dominick DellaSala, Clifford S. Duke, Marietta Eaton, Shirley J. Fiske, Hannah Gosnell, J. Christopher Haney, Michael Hutchins, Mary L. Klein, Jeffrey Marqusee, Barry R. Noon, John R. Nordgren, Paul M. Orbuch, Jimmie Powell, Steven P. Quarles, Kathryn A. Saterson, Charles C. Savitt, Bruce A. Stein, Michael S. Webster, Amy Vedder. Top 40 Priorities for Science to Inform US Conservation and Management Policy. BioScience, 2011; 61 (4): 290 DOI: 10.1525/bio.2011.61.4.9

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Policymakers, scientists agree on top research questions in natural resource management." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205125510.htm>.
American Institute of Biological Sciences. (2014, February 5). Policymakers, scientists agree on top research questions in natural resource management. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205125510.htm
American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Policymakers, scientists agree on top research questions in natural resource management." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205125510.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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