So you want your research to be relevant? Building the bridge between ecosystem services research and practice

Journal Article (Review;Journal)

There is growing demand for information regarding the impacts of decisions on ecosystem services and human benefits. Despite the large and growing quantity of published ecosystem services research, there remains a substantial gap between this research and the information required to support decisions. Research often provides models and tools that do not fully link social and ecological systems; are too complex, specialized, and costly to use; and are targeted to outcomes that differ from those needed by decision makers. Decision makers require cost-effective, straightforward, transferable, scalable, meaningful, and defensible methods that can be readily understood. We provide illustrative examples of these gaps between research and practice and describe how researchers can make their work relevant to decision makers by using Benefit Relevant Indicators (BRIs) and choosing models appropriate for particular decision contexts. We use examples primarily from the United States, including cases that illustrate varying degrees of success in closing these gaps. We include a discussion of the challenges and opportunities researchers face in adapting their work to meet the needs of practitioners.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Olander, L; Polasky, S; Kagan, JS; Johnston, RJ; Wainger, L; Saah, D; Maguire, L; Boyd, J; Yoskowitz, D

Published Date

  • August 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 /

Start / End Page

  • 170 - 182

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2212-0416

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.06.003

Citation Source

  • Scopus