In order for science to have the most impact on resource management, it needs to directly address the questions that managers and other stakeholders have. Essentially, the ways in which researchers and resource managers collaborate can affect the use of scientific information in decision-making. Previous research has shown that relatively more collaboration between researchers and resource managers (or even the general public) tends to lead to more and more effective use of new scientific information. However, we do not yet have good ways to evaluate these research processes or the outcomes we expect them to produce.
This project will assess the key variables necessary for the successful production of usable climate information. To do so, researchers will evaluate the collaborative science approach currently being implemented in a project on managing forests for drought in California. Researchers will interview the project’s scientists about their goals and stakeholder engagement approaches; observe meetings between scientists and managers; interview both scientists and managers at the conclusion of the project to identify the level of satisfaction with the approach used; and interview managers six months later to follow-up on how the information was actually used in decision-making.
The results of this project will help inform best practices for scientists to engage stakeholders during the research process. Identifying the best strategies for stakeholder engagement is essential for ensuring that the science produced is usable and valuable for decision-makers.