Sciences, knowledges, and the practice of forestry
Louise Fortmann and Heidi Ballard
European Journal of Forest Research, vol. 130, no 3 (2011), doi: 10.1007/s10342-009-0334-y

In this article, the authors suggest that the only way to establish a long-lasting and effective strategy for forest management is through collaboration between professional scientists and local experts. They argue that some forest-related knowledge-producing practices of professional scientists and of local people are similar, and given the differences in the knowledge they produce, they explore how they might be used productively together to create better understandings of forests with resulting better forestry practice and policy. Using a case study of participatory forest ecology research in the Northwest United States as a model for sustainable forest management, they demonstrate that when professional (conventional) scientists do research in collaboration with local experts (civil scientists), the resulting knowledge can be more accurate and more policy relevant than they could produce doing research on their own or only with other conventional scientists. The study argues that to build long-term conservation strategies, a much more inclusive form of local participation is needed, termed “civil science.” Deep-rooted respect for local, traditional or indigenous knowledge of ecosystem processes should play just as large a part in environmental assessment and conservation strategies as “conventional” science practices. Read the abstract … Download the full article [pdf] …