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Land 2015, 4(4), 1200-1212; doi:10.3390/land4041200

The Role of Citizen Science in Landscape and Seascape Approaches to Integrating Conservation and Development

1
Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, P.O. Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia
2
Research Centre for Climate Change, University of Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, West Java 16424, Indonesia
3
Kuranda Envirocare, Kuranda, QLD 4881, Australia
4
The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, P.O. Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia
5
The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew Millington
Received: 7 October 2015 / Revised: 22 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 December 2015 / Published: 9 December 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [727 KB, uploaded 9 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Initiatives to manage landscapes for both biodiversity protection and sustainable development commonly employ participatory methods to exploit the knowledge of citizens. We review five examples of citizen groups engaging with landscape scale conservation initiatives to contribute their knowledge, collect data for monitoring programs, study systems to detect patterns, and test hypotheses on aspects of landscape dynamics. Three are from landscape interventions that deliberately target biodiversity conservation and aim to have sustainable development as a collateral outcome. The other two are driven primarily by concerns for agricultural sustainability with biodiversity conservation as a collateral outcome. All five include programs in which, management agencies support data collection by citizen groups to monitor landscape changes. Situations where citizen groups self-organise to collect data and interpret data to aid in landscape scale decision making are less common and are restricted to landscapes where the inhabitants have a high level of scientific literacy. Given the complexity of landscape processes and the multiple decision makers who influence landscape outcomes we argue that citizen science broadly defined should be an essential element of landscape scale initiatives. Conservation managers should create space for citizen engagement in science and should empower citizen groups to experiment, learn, and adapt their decision-making to improve landscape scale outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape approaches; conservation and development trade-offs; integrated landscape management; social learning; biodiversity surveys and monitoring landscape approaches; conservation and development trade-offs; integrated landscape management; social learning; biodiversity surveys and monitoring
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sayer, J.; Margules, C.; Bohnet, I.; Boedhihartono, A.; Pierce, R.; Dale, A.; Andrews, K. The Role of Citizen Science in Landscape and Seascape Approaches to Integrating Conservation and Development. Land 2015, 4, 1200-1212.

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