Policy: overarching principle or plan
Relevant to us: conservation (wise use)
Science: formal means of acquiring knowledge
Relevant to us: scientific study of the number and distribution of organisms
Management: control the movement or behavior
Relevant to us: manipulate number and/or distribution of organisms to meet specific objectives
Policy should be firmly grounded in science, should be informed by past and current management, and should be guided by the future needs of both science and management.
The science of ecology should provide a foundation for natural resource management and therefore for much of the practice of conservation biology. It should inform, and be informed by, policy.
Progressive management of natural resources is based on societal needs, as filtered through policy, and is also rooted in science, though it must consider several other elements as well.
Historically, management of natural resources has been simple ...
... and probably too simple, given the underlying complexity of the systems being managed. This tendency for simplification is driven by at least two factors:
People in different groups have different views of the goal of science
Some people are fearful of science (or what they think science is)
Lack of appreciation for, or suspicion of, science leads to policies of isolationism
Repairing the links between policy, science, and management:
Policy must be rooted in science and practice
Speed of scientific inquiry rarely matches the urgency of environmental problems
Inform science and scientists
Professionals in each of the groups must work hard to understand the other enterprises (and their own), and to maintain open lines of communication between each other
Dawkins, R. 1998. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
McPherson, G.R. and DeStefano, S. 2003. Applied Ecology and Natural Resource Management. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.
Weinberg, S. 2001. Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.