Successful Information Exchange Between Restoration Science and Practice

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Biological Sciences


Boundary organizations, Collaboration, Information exchange, Management recommendations, Perception, Science‐practice gap


The science‐practice gap is often cited as a limitation to successful restoration outcomes; however, the existence of such a gap in information exchange is rarely measured. Here, we quantify the gap by focusing on common recommendations from both scientists (i.e. researchers) and managers (i.e. practitioners, land managers) on what is needed for successful restoration. We surveyed 45 managers associated with 244 invasive species (Tamarix spp.) removal projects across the southwestern U.S. to determine the degree to which they have utilized four strategies advocated by scientists: (1) collaborate widely, (2) monitor beyond cursory visual methods, (3) use a variety of information sources, and (4) consider project goals beyond invasive species removal. Half of these managers were also interviewed to assess managers' perceptions of the role of science in restoration. Twenty‐three scientists specializing in Tamarix‐related research in this region were also surveyed to assess how much they understood and/or shared the concerns of land managers. We found that managers were following scientists' recommendations and that managers' perceptions of the role of science in land management did not have any bearing on the management actions taken. Scientists reported being influenced by managers, and the concerns of scientists and managers were more overlapping than expected. Boundary organizations and river‐wide partnerships were often cited as important in facilitating effective communication between land managers and scientists. A lack of funding for monitoring and for longer‐term projects was cited by both groups as a limitation to incorporating scientists' recommendations into restoration.

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