Experiments in Consilience: Integrating Scientific & Social Responses to Biodiversity & Conservation Challenges

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Overview

<p>In his 1998 book Consilience, E.O. Wilson set forth the idea that integrating knowledge and insights from across the spectrum of human study -- the humanities, social science, and natural sciences -- is the key to solving complex environmental and social problems. Experiments in Consilience tells the unique story of a pathbreaking effort to apply this theoretical construct in a real-world setting.<p>The book describes the work of the Biodiversity Research Network, a team of experts from the United States and Canada brought together to build interdisciplinary connections and stimulate an exchange of expertise. Team members sought to understand the ecology and population dynamics of key species in particular ecosystems, to understand the impact of human populations on those species and ecosystems, and to develop tools and processes for involving a greater variety of stakeholders in conservation efforts.<p>In order to keep the experiment grounded, the network focused on a single type of conservation planning workshop run by a single organization -- the Population and Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop (PHVA) of the IUCN-sponsored Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG).<p> The book combines sections on the theoretical underpinnings of relevant concepts in population biology, simulation modeling, and social science with detailed descriptions of six PHVA workshops conducted on different species across four continents. A concluding chapter examines the lessons learned, which have application to both theory and practice, including reflections on interdisciplinarity, integrated risk assessment, and future directions for research and action. Through the combination of theory and application, combined with frank discussions of what the research network learned -- including both successes and failures -- the book offers fresh ideas on how to improve on-the-ground conservation decisionmaking.<p>Experiments in Consilience offers a one-of-a-kind overview and introduction to the challenges of cross-disciplinary analysis as well as cross-functional, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral action. It centers on the problem of conserving endangered species while telling the story of a new form of organizing for effective risk assessment, recommendation, and action.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559639934
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances Westley is the James McGill Professor of Management, Faculty of Management, McGill University. In addition to her research and teaching, she has worked for many years assisting CBSG and other conservation organizations in developing process and products for understanding adaptive management and risk assessment, and has designed trainings and multi-stakeholder workshops around the globe.

Philip S. Miller is program officer for the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission, sponsored by IUCN-The World Conservation Union.

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Table of Contents

List of Acronyms
Preface
Pt. 1 Introduction
Ch. 1 The Story of an Experiment: Integrating Social and Scientific Responses to Facilitate Conservation Action 3
Pt. 2 Design for Consilience
Ch. 2 The Art of Walking through Walls: Strategy and Structure in the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group 23
Ch. 3 Integrating the Human Dimension into Endangered Species Risk Assessment 41
Ch. 4 Getting the Right Science and Getting the Science Right: Process Design and Facilitation in PHVA Workshops 64
Ch. 5 Logic Models for Building Knowledge and Networks: Early Evaluations of the PHVA Approach 83
Pt. 3 The Workshops
Ch. 6 Guns, Germs, and Refugees: The Mountain Gorilla PHVA in Uganda 105
Ch. 7 Linking Monkeys, Biologists, and Palmito: The Muriqui PHVA in Brazil 131
Ch. 8 Building the Back Loop: Community Decision Making and the Peary and Arctic Islands Caribou PHVA in Northern Canada 149
Ch. 9 Incorporating Local Knowledge: Landowners and Tree Kangaroos in Papua New Guinea 161
Ch. 10 Uneasy Guests: The Grizzly Bear PHVA in the Central Canadian Rockies 185
Ch. 11 A Special Concern: The Wolves of Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario 203
Pt. 4 Understanding and Integrating the Dynamics of Human Systems
Ch. 12 Governance for Conservation 223
Ch. 13 Human Population Dynamics and Integrative Action 244
Ch. 14 Incorporating Community Population Appraisals in PHVA Workshops: The Early Experience 260
Ch. 15 Caveat on Consilience: Barriers and Bridges for Traditional Knowledge and Conservation Science 284
Ch. 16 Strangers at the Party: An Industry Strategy Perspective on PHVAs 298
Pt. 5 Reflections on Consilience
Ch. 17 On Building Bridges between Specializations 323
Ch. 18 Metamodels as a Tool for Risk Assessment 333
Ch. 19 Far from Land: Further Explorations in Consilience 352
References 363
Contributors 381
Index 384
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