Knowledge in the policy process: Incorporating new environmental information in natural resources policy making
Efforts by both natural and social scientists have brought significant new bodies of information to bear on natural resources policy making. Among these have been new insights in conservation biology and landscape ecology, new methods for valuing intangible resource benefits, and new frameworks for resource accounting. The use of these new sources of information is analyzed from a Lasswellian policy process perspective, with illustrations from recent experience with U.S. national forest planning. A distinction is made between the impact of new information on 'ordinary' as contrasted to 'constitutive' policy making. This experience suggests that these new sources of information may increase emphasis on sustainable, multiple benefit use of resources, but they can also shift power away from non-expert actors, undermine rights arguments, polarize debates over appropriate resource use, and delay timely decisionmaking. © 1995 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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