Science Communications Manager Anne Liddon writes…
In many research programmes across the UK researchers are investigating the implications of environmental change for communities and the ways in which they are going to have to adapt. It’s a potential troubling question for everyone, particularly land managers and their advisers. So it’s just as well so many scientists are researching the theme of ecosystem services, investigating the range of goods that land provides, how they interrelate and the effects of environmental change upon those services. But we also know there is often a knowledge gap between the researchers and professional advisers who each bring knowledge to addressing this challenge.
Transferring knowledge between research and practice sounds as though it should be straightforward but real life it is always more complicated than that. We have made some advances. We know from experience, that knowledge exchange can be a much more effective approach than knowledge transfer. Involving practitioners at an early stage enables the research to be more relevant in the real world, and draws in a different, but equally valuable, kind of expertise. This kind of involvement is happening more and more, but we can’t afford to be complacent, and we certainly aren’t reaching all the parts that need to be reached. Landbridge is one means of addressing this gap.
An event in Birmingham on 18 June brings together some of those leading scientists who have developed the ecosystems approach with land advisers and planners who are working at the front line. The day is intended to help land advisers to develop their knowledge of how the ecosystem approach could be applied in their everyday practice, but it’s going to be a two-way process. The researchers won’t be lecturing – they will be engaging in discussion and knowledge exchange in an event that is shaped by the participants. Afterwards the experiences from the day will feed into a policy and practice note that we hope will be useful for a whole range of land advisers, highlighting the challenges and opportunities and giving practical guidance. As I write there are a few places left (email Alister.Scott@bcu.ac.uk) but you will need to be quick. I’m certainly looking forward to it.