Special Issue "Parks and Protected Areas: Mobilizing Knowledge for Effective Decision-Making"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Glen Hvenegaard
Guest Editor
University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, 4901-46 Avenue, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 2R3, Canada
Interests: protected areas; ecotourism; environmental interpretation; bird conservation; rural sustainability planning
Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny
Guest Editor
Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, 2-130G University Hall, Van Vliet Complex, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H9, Canada
Interests: tourism; recreation; park management and planning; place attachment; environmental stewardship; visitor experiences
Ms. Jill Bueddefeld

Guest Editor
Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, 130G University Hall, Van Vliet Complex, Alberta, Canada
Interests: nature-based tourism; geography; free-choice learning; environmental education; visitor studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Parks and protected areas provide essential services and resources, including nature conservation, visitor recreation, local economic opportunities, Indigenous cultures, and human wellbeing. Park managers make difficult decisions to achieve their diverse mandates, and need up-to-date, relevant, and rigorous information. Evidence-based management is in vogue with politicians and practitioners; however, access to, and effective use of, current research (Fazey et al., 2013; Segan et al., 2011; Sutherland et al., 2012) provided by social scientists, natural scientists, local people, or Indigenous peoples, is an ongoing challenge (Bennett & Roth, 2015; Cvitanovic et al., 2015, 2016, 2017; Nguyen et al., 2017).

Parks and protected areas, whether governed publicly, privately, or through other forms, are chronically underfunded, and thus lack sufficient resources to mobilize knowledge. Globally, most park agencies have little capacity to produce in-house social science or natural science research, or to conduct meaningful knowledge exchange with Indigenous and local communities (Fisher et al., 2018; Lemieux et al., 2018).

This Special Issue seeks to assemble papers that broadly explore knowledge mobilization in parks and protected areas, including research that addresses successes and failures, barriers and enablers, diverse theoretical frameworks, structural innovations, and more that support effective knowledge mobilization. In many parks, efforts to mobilize knowledge, or move knowledge into active service, have largely focused on (1) the use of natural science research, and (2) achieving nature conservation rather than other park mandates. Park agencies and other conservation organizations now realize that understanding how social forces affect, and are affected by, park management is as important as knowledge of natural systems. Realizing that park-related knowledge mobilization is needed for effective park management, and that human factors have been neglected, the goal of this Special Issue is to enhance the generation and use of knowledge, especially social science (Bennett et al., 2016; Gruby et al., 2015), local (Charnley et al., 2007; Failing et al., 2007; Raymond et al., 2010), and indigenous knowledge (Berkes et al., 2000; Ens et al., 2015; Houde, 2007), for parks and protected areas policy, planning, and management.

Prof. Dr. Glen Hvenegaard
Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny
Dr. Jill Bueddefeld
Guest Editors


  1. Bennett, N.J.; Roth, R. The conservation social sciences: What, how and why. Wildlife Federation and Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia: Vancouver, Canada, 2015.
  2. Bennett, N.J.; Roth, R.; Klain, S.C.; Chan, K.; Clark, D.A.; Cullman, G.; Epstein, G; Nelson, M.P.;Stedman, R.; Teel, T.L.; et al. Mainstreaming the social sciences in conservation. Conserv. Biol. 2016, 31, 56–66.
  3. Berkes, F.; Colding, J.; Folke, C. Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecol. Appl. 2000, 10, 1251–1262.
  4. Charnley, S.; Fischer, A.P.; Jones, E.T. Integrating traditional and local ecological knowledge into forest biodiversity conservation in the Pacific Northwest. For. Ecol. Manag. 2007, 246, 14–28.
  5. Cvitanovic, C.; Hobday, A.J.; van Kerkhoff, L.; Wilson, S.K.; Dobbs, K.; Marshall, N.A. Improving knowledge exchange among scientists and decision-makers to facilitate the adaptive governance of marine resources: a review of knowledge and research needs. Ocean Coast. Manag. 2015, 112, 25–35.
  6. Cvitanovic, C.; McDonald, J.; Hobday, A.J. From science to action: principles for undertaking environmental research that enables knowledge exchange and evidence-based decision-making. J. Environ. Manag. 2016, 183, 864–874.
  7. Cvitanovic, C.; Cunningham, R.; Dowd, A.M.; Howden, S.M.; Putten, E.I. Using social network analysis to monitor and assess the effectiveness of knowledge brokers at connecting scientists and decision‐makers: An Australian case study. Environ. Policy Gov. 2017, 27, 256–269.
  8. Ens, E.J.; Pert, P.; Clarke, P.A.; Budden, M.; Clubb, L.; Doran, B.; Douras, C.; Gaikwad, J.; Gott, B.; Leonard, S.; et al. Indigenous biocultural knowledge in ecosystem science and management: Review and insight from Australia. Biol. Conserv. 2015, 181, 133–149.
  9. Fazey, I.; Evely, A.C.; Reed, M.S.; Stringer, L.C.; Kruijsen, J.; White, P.C.; Newsham,. A.; Jin, L.; Cortazzi, M; Phillipson, J.; et al. Knowledge exchange: A review and research agenda for environmental management. Environ. Conserv. 2013, 40, 19–36.
  10. Failing, L.; Gregory, R.; Harstone, M. Integrating science and local knowledge in environmental risk management: A decision-focused approach. Ecol. Econ. 2007, 64, 47–60.
  11. Fisher, J.R.; Montambault, J.; Burford, K.P.; Gopalakrishna, T.; Masuda, Y.J.; Reddy, S.M.; Torphy, K; Salcedo, A.I. Knowledge diffusion within a large conservation organization and beyond. PloS one 2018, 13, e0193716.
  12. Gruby, R.L.; Gray, N.J.; Campbell, L.M.; Acton, L. Toward a social science research agenda for large marine protected areas. Conserv. Lett. 2015, 9, 153–163.
  13. Houde, N. The six faces of traditional ecological knowledge: Challenges and opportunities for Canadian co-management arrangements. Ecol. Soc. 2007, 12, 34.
  14. Lemieux, C.J.; Groulx, M.W.; Bocking, S.; Beechey, T.J. Evidence-based decision-making in Canada’s protected areas organizations: Implications for management effectiveness. FACETS, 3, 392–414.
  15. Nguyen, V.M.; Young, N.; Cooke, S.J. A roadmap for knowledge exchange and mobilization research in conservation and natural resource management. Conserv. Biol. 2017, 31, 789-798.
  16. Raymond, C.M.; Fazey, I.; Reed, M.S.; Stringer, L.C.; Robinson, G.M.; Evely, A.C. Integrating local and scientific knowledge for environmental management. J. Environ. Manag. 2010, 91, 1766–1777.
  17. Segan, D.B.; Bottrill, M.C.; Baxter, P.W.; Possingham, H.P. Using conservation evidence to guide management. Conserv. Biol. 2011, 25, 200–202.
  18. Sutherland W.J.; Bellingan, L.; Bellingham, J.R.; Blackstock, J.J.; Bloomfield, R.M.; Bravo, M., Cadman, V.M.; Cleevely, D.D.; Clements, A.; Cohen, A.S. A collaboratively-derived science-policy research agenda. PLoS ONE 2012, 7, e31824. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031824.

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • knowledge mobilization
  • protected areas
  • management
  • planning
  • evidence-based decision-making
  • case studies.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Pastoral Stone Enclosures as Biological Cultural Heritage: Galician and Cornish Examples of Community Conservation
Land 2020, 9(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9010009 - 02 Jan 2020
The role and importance of a built structure are closely related to the surrounding area, with interest in a given area having a concomitant effect on the relevance given to the constructions it may hold. Heritage interest in landscape areas has grown in [...] Read more.
The role and importance of a built structure are closely related to the surrounding area, with interest in a given area having a concomitant effect on the relevance given to the constructions it may hold. Heritage interest in landscape areas has grown in recent times leading to a sound valorisation process. This connects with the recent concept of biological cultural heritage (BCH), or biocultural heritage (definition still in process), that can be understood as domesticated landscapes resulting from long-term biological and social relationships. Although pastoral enclosures (in large part dry-stone walling, whose construction has been recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2018) arise as traditional rural constructions linked with a way of life already disappearing, engaged local communities are recovering their biocultural value in terms of identity and positive conservation outcomes. In this sense, this article focuses on valuing traditional stone-built pastoral enclosures in two locations on the Atlantic coast of western Europe: Frojám (NW Iberian Peninsula) and Ladydown Moor (SW England). Findings concerning plant communities related to current or ancient pastoralism, and artefacts of built heritage are described, and an emphasis is placed on community engagement as a mechanism for conservation. The resilience of species-rich grassland communities is identified as a manifestation of biocultural heritage and an opportunity for habitat restoration. Finally, current trends and improvements in understanding of biological heritage and community conservation are addressed. Full article
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