Bridging the Research-management Gap in Environmental Conservation
Science is believed to provide the most objective basis for effective decision-making, though it is rarely implemented in environmental management. Here, the authors reflect on the results of a regional workshop aimed at exploring the knowledge and use of scientific evidence by environmental managers in an ecologically diverse region in southern Spain: Andalusia.
Scientists were moderately aware of regional managerial needs. They stated that regional managers’ needs could be mostly addressed by their research centers, and that they often considered managerial needs when conducting research. In turn, environmental managers had limited knowledge of, and interest in, the environmental research carried out in the region. However, managers stated they frequently use scientific outputs in their jobs. The main perceived barriers to effective use of science in regional environmental management by both groups were: different priorities by each group, and limited time of managers to check scientific information. Scientists also perceived that managers were not sufficiently engaged in research and that they were often reluctant to change their usual managerial practices. Managers mentioned inadequate scientific dissemination formats. The perceived solutions to those issues were: reinforcing collaboration mechanisms between both groups; aligning research to managerial needs more closely; greater managers' awareness of adaptive management; and developing user friendly, synthetic communication tools for managers. The insights from the workshop are intended to help scientists and managers to enhance effective use of environmental science in Spain and elsewhere.