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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Foundations of translational ecology

Authors:

Carolyn Enquist

Stephen Jackson

Gregg Garfin

Frank Davis

Leah Gerber

Jeremy Littell

Jennifer Tank

Adam Terando

Tamara Wall

Benjamin Halpern

Kevin Hiers

Toni Lyn Morelli

Elizabeth McNie

Nathan Stephenson

Matthew Williamson

Connie Woodhouse

Laurie Yung

Mark Brunson

Kimberly Hall

Lauren Hallett

Dawn Lawson

Max Moritz

Koren Nydick

Amber Pairis

Andrea Ray

Claudia Regan

Hugh Safford

Mark Schwartz

Rebecca Shaw

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2017
Secondary Title:
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
DOI:
10.1002/fee.1733
Pages:
541-550
Volume:
15
Year:
2017
Date:
Jan-12-2017
URL:
https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/fee.1733

Abstract

Ecologists who specialize in translational ecology (TE) seek to link ecological knowledge to decision making by integrating ecological science with the full complement of social dimensions that underlie today's complex environmental issues. TE is motivated by a search for outcomes that directly serve the needs of natural resource managers and decision makers. This objective distinguishes it from both basic and applied ecological research and, as a practice, it deliberately extends research beyond theory or opportunistic applications. TE is uniquely positioned to address complex issues through interdisciplinary team approaches and integrated scientist–practitioner partnerships. The creativity and context-specific knowledge of resource managers, practitioners, and decision makers inform and enrich the scientific process and help shape use-driven, actionable science. Moreover, addressing research questions that arise from on-the-ground management issues – as opposed to the top-down or expert-oriented perspectives of traditional science – can foster the high levels of trust and commitment that are critical for long-term, sustained engagement between partners.