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Participatory adaptive management leads to environmental learning outcomes extending beyond the sphere of science [Sciences Advances]

Keywords : evidence-based conservation, natural resources, fisheries management, knowledge co-production, participation, science communication, science education

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Resolving uncertainties in managed social-ecological systems requires adaptive experimentation at whole-ecosystem levels. However, whether participatory adaptive management fosters ecological understanding among stakeholders beyond the sphere of science is unknown. We experimentally involved members of German angling clubs (n = 181 in workshops, n = 2483 in total) engaged in self-governance of freshwater fisheries resources in a large-scale ecological experiment of active adaptive management of fish stocking, which constitutes a controversial management practice for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning when conducted inappropriately. The collaborative ecological experiments spanned several years and manipulated fish densities in 24 lakes with two species. In parallel, we experimentally compared changes in ecological knowledge and antecedents of proenvironmental behavior in stakeholders and managers who were members of a participatory adaptive management treatment group, with those receiving only a standard lecture, relative to placebo controls.(...)

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