The identification of 100 ecological questions of high policy relevance in the UK

William J. Sutherland, Susan Armstrong-Brown, Paul R. Armsworth, Tom Brereton, Jonathan Brickland, Colin D. Campbell, Daniel E. Chamberlain, Andrew I. Cooke, Nicholas K. Dulvy, Nicholas R. Dusic, Martin Fitton, Robert P. Freckleton, H. Charles J. Godfray, Nick Grout, H. John Harvey, Colin Hedley, John J. Hopkins, Neil B. Kift, Jeff Kirby, William E. KuninDavid W. Macdonald, Brian Marker, Marc Naura, Andrew R. Neale, Tom Oliver, Dan Osborn, Andrew S. Pullin, Matthew E. A. Shardlow, David A. Showler, Paul L. Smith, Richard J. Smithers, Jean-Luc Solandt, Jonathan Spencer, Chris J. Spray, Chris D. Thomas, Jim Thompson, Sarah E. Webb, Derek W. Yalden, Andrew R. Watkinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    347 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Evidence-based policy requires researchers to provide the answers to ecological questions that are of interest to policy makers. To find out what those questions are in the UK, representatives from 28 organizations involved in policy, together with scientists from 10 academic institutions, were asked to generate a list of questions from their organizations. During a 2-day workshop the initial list of 1003 questions generated from consulting at least 654 policy makers and academics was used as a basis for generating a short list of 100 questions of significant policy relevance. Short-listing was decided on the basis of the preferences of the representatives from the policy-led organizations. The areas covered included most major issues of environmental concern in the UK, including agriculture, marine fisheries, climate change, ecosystem function and land management. The most striking outcome was the preference for general questions rather than narrow ones. The reason is that policy is driven by broad issues rather than specific ones. In contrast, scientists are frequently best equipped to answer specific questions. This means that it may be necessary to extract the underpinning specific question before researchers can proceed. Synthesis and applications. Greater communication between policy makers and scientists is required in order to ensure that applied ecologists are dealing with issues in a way that can feed into policy. It is particularly important that applied ecologists emphasize the generic value of their work wherever possible.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)617-627
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
    Volume43
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Keywords

    • Agricultural reform
    • Biodiversity
    • Fisheries
    • Land management
    • Conservation

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  • Cite this

    Sutherland, W. J., Armstrong-Brown, S., Armsworth, P. R., Brereton, T., Brickland, J., Campbell, C. D., Chamberlain, D. E., Cooke, A. I., Dulvy, N. K., Dusic, N. R., Fitton, M., Freckleton, R. P., Godfray, H. C. J., Grout, N., Harvey, H. J., Hedley, C., Hopkins, J. J., Kift, N. B., Kirby, J., ... Watkinson, A. R. (2006). The identification of 100 ecological questions of high policy relevance in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43(4), 617-627. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01188.x