Main content area

The influence of ecological knowledge on biodiversity conservation policies: A strategic challenge for knowledge producers

Coreau, Audrey, Guillet, Fanny, Rabaud, Suzanne
Journal for nature conservation 2018 v.46 pp. 97-105
advocacy, biodiversity, biodiversity conservation, case studies, decision making, environmental knowledge, expert opinion, issues and policy, nongovernmental organizations
Within a context marked by widespread biodiversity decline, researchers in ecology often express their willingness to contribute to the definition of new policy solutions. However, producing ecological knowledge and making research results available for decision makers cannot guarantee by itself that conservation policies will be improved. Knowledge producers have to develop robust strategies to make their expertise count in public decision-making. In the implementation of such strategies, ecological knowledge is a critical resource that can be used to support ambitious environmental initiatives. To bring some new insights for researchers and practitioners, we therefore analysed different tactics for the production and use of knowledge to improve biodiversity conservation. Our case study involved two organisations, an ecology research team and a conservation NGO. Both of them adopted a proactive knowledge-based strategy in an attempt to directly influence biodiversity conservation. Their scientific and expert knowledge was partially taken into account in the definition and implementation of public conservation policies. However significant progress was achieved only when they developed a strong advocacy in favour of biodiversity conservation in addition to knowledge production. Finally, we show that knowledge producers can adopt three knowledge-based tactics to improve biodiversity conservation − bridging the knowledge gap, complying with a scientific imperative or helping to prevent an environmental decline. The effectiveness of such strategies depends on their adequacy to the local decision context.