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Characterizing the Networks of Digital Information that Support Collaborative Adaptive Forest Management in Sierra Nevada Forests

Lei, Shufei, Iles, Alastair, Kelly, Maggi
Environmental management 2015 v.56 no.1 pp. 94-109
case studies, forest management, forests, information exchange, information technology, information transparency, learning, monitoring, Sierra Nevada (California)
Some of the factors that can contribute to the success of collaborative adaptive management—such as social learning, open communication, and trust—are built upon a foundation of the open exchange of information about science and management between participants and the public. Despite the importance of information transparency, the use and flow of information in collaborative adaptive management has not been characterized in detail in the literature, and currently there exist opportunities to develop strategies for increasing the exchange of information, as well as to track information flow in such contexts. As digital information channels and networks have been increased over the last decade, powerful new information monitoring tools have also been evolved allowing for the complete characterization of information products through their production, transport, use, and monitoring. This study uses these tools to investigate the use of various science and management information products in a case study—the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project—using a mixed method (citation analysis, web analytics, and content analysis) research approach borrowed from the information processing and management field. The results from our case study show that information technologies greatly facilitate the flow and use of digital information, leading to multiparty collaborations such as knowledge transfer and public participation in science research. We conclude with recommendations for expanding information exchange in collaborative adaptive management by taking advantage of available information technologies and networks.