Challenges to Interdisciplinary Research in Ecosystem-Based Management

  • Sievanen L
  • Campbell L
  • Leslie H
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Abstract

Despite its necessity, i ntegration of n atural and s ocial s ciences t o i nform conservation efforts has been difficult. We examined the views of 63 scientists and practitioners involved in marine management in Mexico’s Gulf of California, t he central C alifornia coast, and t he western P acific on the challenges associated with integrating s ocial s cience into research efforts t hat support ecosystem-based management (EBM) i n marine systems. We used a s emistructured i nterview format. Questions focused on how EBM was developed for t hese sites and how contextual f actors affected its development and outcomes. Many of t he traditional challenges linked with interdisciplinary research were present i n t he EBM p rojects we s tudied. However, a number of contextual elements affected how m andates to include s ocial s cience were interpreted a nd implemented as well as how easily challenges could b e addressed. For example, a common challenge i s t hat conservation organizations are often d ominated by natural s cientists, b ut for s ome projects i t was easier to address t his i mbalance than for others. We also found that the m anagement and institutional histories that came before EBM i n s pecific cases were i mportant features of local context. Because challenges differed a mong cases, we believe resolving challenges to interdisciplinary research should be context s pecific.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Marine conservation
  • Natural resource management
  • Social science

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Authors

  • Leila Sievanen

  • Lisa M. Campbell

  • Heather M. Leslie

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