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An information ecology approach to science–policy integration in adaptive management of social-ecological systems

Brian G Eddy, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Brian Hearn, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Joan E Luther, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Michael van Zyll de Jong, Environmental Policy Institute, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Wade Bowers, Environmental Policy Institute, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Reg Parsons, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Douglas Piercey, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Guy Strickland, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Barry Wheeler, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06752-190340

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Abstract

Adaptive management of social-ecological systems requires integration and collaboration among scientists, policy makers, practitioners, and stakeholders across multiple disciplines and organizations. Challenges associated with such integration have been attributed to gaps between how human systems are organized and how ecosystems function. To address this gap, we explore the application of information ecology as a theoretical basis for integrating human systems and natural systems. First, we provide an overview of information ecology with reference to its relationship with information theory and how we define “information.” Principles governing whole-part relationships, i.e., holons and holarchies, are then used to develop a general information flow model for evolutionary, complex adaptive systems. This general model is then applied to examine a number of issues related to science–policy integration and in the development of a reference framework for practical application in adaptive management. A number of additional considerations for practical use of the framework are also discussed.

Key words

adaptive management; ecosystems-based management; holons; information ecology; information theory; science–policy integration

Copyright © 2014 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.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087