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Rethinking Partnerships with the Aim of Producing Knowledge with Practical Relevance: a Case Study in the Field of Ecological Restoration

Héloïse Gonzalo-Turpin, INRA, UMR 1248 AGIR, ORPHEE: Outils et références pour la gestion des systèmes herbagers
Nathalie Couix, INRA, UMR 1248 AGIR, MEDIATIONS: Accompagnement des activités agricoles et nouvelles ruralités
Laurent Hazard, INRA, UMR 1248 AGIR, ORPHEE: Outils et références pour la gestion des systèmes herbagers


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Researchers in conservation biology and restoration ecology often work in partnership with local actors to increase the practical relevance of the knowledge they produce. Although an academic mode of knowledge production is essential in research for a better understanding of biological systems, it often fails to produce frameworks and methodologies having practical relevance that can be used in conservation and restoration programs. The involvement of researchers in collective plans of action is supposed to contribute to the production of a more contextualized form of knowledge. In this paper, we report our experience of partnership research in an ecological restoration project. We show that changing our mode of knowledge production to one that produces knowledge having more practical relevance requires a particular spectrum of partners and reflexive communication between all the partners. We advocate the need for participatory approaches that favor collective and reflexive processes of problem finding and problem solving in conservation and restoration projects. Putting such processes into practice is not only a challenge for researchers but also for their partners, and presupposes a profound transformation of their roles.

Key words

conservation biology; genetic resources; local seeds; mode of knowledge production; native species; problem-finding; Pyrenees; seed transfer zones; stakeholders

Copyright © 2008 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087