Fostering Evidence-Informed Decision-Making for Protected Areas through the Alberta Parks Social Science Working Group
2. Alberta Parks—Linking Parks, Research, and Decisions
2.1. Creating a Framework for Knowledge Mobilization in Social Science
- Active Participation
- Measurable Objectives
- Data-driven decisions
- Holons as a management unit (elements that are both whole, but also parts of a whole (e.g., within a network—Koestler )
- Use of multiple perspectives in decision-making
- Incorporating narratives (a.k.a. storytelling) into the process
- Both scholars and local citizens are equal stakeholders
- Links are identified across scales and perspectives
- Social understanding holds a focus
2.2. The Alberta Parks Social Science Framework
- Local stakeholders and researchers come together to identify alternative courses of action (looking at multiple scales and from various perspectives)
- Stakeholders choose, develop, and implement a plan that incorporates governing, monitoring, and management actions.
- Outside investigators try to understand the system, the process, and how interactions may influence our understanding.
2.3. The Alberta Parks Social Science Working Group
- Supporting an increase in the amount, quality, availability, and use of social and applied science in, on, and relevant to parks and protected areas;
- Creating a ‘Community of Practice’ between government, academia, and communities for carrying out social science research and implementing effective parks management;
- Supporting knowledge synthesis, translation, and exchange (KSTE), building upon previous research, prioritization, and data collection to support and expand operational capacity and linkages to the scientific community;
- Increasing capacity to make informed decisions that positively affect parks and their users, enhancing the ability of managers and staff to integrate social science into management and operational approaches. This extends to increasing capacity for both researchers and decision-makers to execute and integrate social science; and
- Implementing an adaptive management process that works to carry out evidence-informed action.
3. From Recreation to Evidence and Community Informed Management
3.1. Historical Overview
3.2. Parks and Protected Areas: Planning Documents
3.3. Research Priorities
4. The Alberta Parks Social Science Framework as an Exercise of Policy Design
4.1. Audience—The Organizational Dimensions
4.2. Values—The Conditions for Success
- Executive Support—The Social Science Framework must be championed by a member of the AB Parks Division executive to increase its credibility and allow for high-level support and oversight.
- Accountability—Both researchers and decision-makers have to be held accountable to one another and to the objectives of the framework.
- Culture of Respect—The use of scientific information for the purpose of evidence-informed decision-making must be recognized and valued within the Government of Alberta.
- Integration—Horizontal and vertical integration must occur across every level of decision-making.
- Partnerships—No single group will be responsible for carrying out the work of the Social Science Framework. Governments, academics, and communities (which include citizens, NGOs, companies, etc.) must work together to accomplish the objectives of the framework.
- Diversity—Individuals participating in the Social Science Framework process should represent broad and diverse perspectives.
- People-friendly communities with recreational and cultural opportunities
- Healthy ecosystems and environment
- Healthy economy supported by our land and natural resources.
4.3. Context—Balancing Evidence with Demand in Alberta Parks
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Hallstrom, L.K.; Hvenegaard, G.T. Fostering Evidence-Informed Decision-Making for Protected Areas through the Alberta Parks Social Science Working Group. Land 2021, 10, 224. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020224
Hallstrom LK, Hvenegaard GT. Fostering Evidence-Informed Decision-Making for Protected Areas through the Alberta Parks Social Science Working Group. Land. 2021; 10(2):224. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020224Chicago/Turabian Style
Hallstrom, Lars K., and Glen T. Hvenegaard. 2021. "Fostering Evidence-Informed Decision-Making for Protected Areas through the Alberta Parks Social Science Working Group" Land 10, no. 2: 224. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020224