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Taking Communities Seriously: A Role for Community Knowledge in Environmental Decision-making

Date Published: 2001

Full Reference:

Barrett, K. and K. Bannister, 2001. "Taking Communities Seriously: A Role for Community Knowledge in Environmental Decision-making." Panel session as part of the Taking Nature Seriously: Citizens, Science and the Environment Conference, Eugene, Oregon. Feb 25-27.


This panel will discuss the flow of information between research institutions, communities, and government. We will present three projects that aim to support community instigated research. The first is a newly initiated project based in coastal British Columbia(Canada). Modeled on the Dutch “science shops”, this project aims to facilitate community-led research on human and ecosystem health in cooperation with university researchers. The second project involves citizen volunteers in wetlands research in an urbanizing watershed. It is a cooperative venture between the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Princeton University, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, with a primary aim to increase public understanding of policy alternatives by actively involving citizens in the research process. The third project concerns the history and evolving theory of a proposed Research Natural Area for the Warner Creek fire area in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. Founded on collaborations between scientists, activists, and managers, this Fire Process Research Natural Area is one model of a research and education oriented advocacy group. Panel presentations and discussion will focus on the following questions: • How is scientific information communicated among various sectors of civil society? • How does the process of generating information and conducting research affect the way in which results are integrated into regional, federal and international policy-making? • How can communication be improved to support mutual learning to address complex social and environmental issues?

Page last updated: 02/27/2008