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    Author(s): David P. Robertson; R. Bruce Hull
    Date: 2003
    Source: Environmental Science & Policy 6:399-410
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: North Central Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (148.79 KB)


    Public ecology exists at the interface of science and policy. Public ecology is an approach to environmental inquiry and decision making that does not expect scientific knowledge to be perfect or complete. Rather, public ecology requires that science be produced in collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders in order to construct a body of knowledge that will reflect the pluralist and pragmatic context of its use (decision context), while continuing to maintain the rigor and accountability that earns scientific knowledge its privileged status in contemporary society. As such, public ecology entails both process and content. The process is that of a post-modern scientific method: a process that values the participation of extended peer communities composed of a diversity of research specialists, professional policy-makers, concerned citizens and a variety of other stakeholders. The content of public ecology is a biocultural knowledge of dynamic human ecosystems that directly relates to and results from the participatory, democratic processes that distinguish public ecology as a citizen science. The primary goal of public ecology is to build common ground among competing beliefs and values for the environment. The purpose of this paper is to help unify and establish public ecology as a distinctive approach to environmental science and policy in global society.

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    Robertson, David P.; Hull, R. Bruce. 2003. Public ecology: an environmental science and policy for global society. Environmental Science & Policy 6:399-410


    Biocultural, Human ecosystems, Citizen science, Public participation, Democracy

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