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Communicating and Using Uncertain Scientific Information in the Production of ‘Actionable Science’

Conservation practitioners must navigate many challenges to advance effective natural-resource management in the presence of multiple uncertainties. Numerous climatic and ecological changes remain on the horizon, and their eventual consequences are not completely understood. Even so, their influences are expected to impact important resources and the people that depend on them across local, regional, and sometimes global scales. Although forecasts of future conditions are almost always imperfect, decision makers are increasingly expected to communicate and use uncertain information when making policy choices that affect multiple user groups. The degree to which management objectives are met can depend on 1) how critical uncertainties are identified and accounted for, and 2) effective communication among user groups, scientists, and resource managers.

The objective of this project is to help facilitate strategic decision support and synthesize the state of the science related to communicating and using uncertain information in conservation decision making. By providing a forum on the communication of scientific uncertainty, we aim to traverse traditional disciplinary boundaries, with a focus on climate change in the southeastern United States. We expect this process to generate transferable guidance that will directly assist resource managers across agencies to identify common goals and shared research priorities.

Funding: Total funding for this project is $39,926

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