The state of human dimensions capacity for natural resource management: needs, knowledge, and resources

The George Wright Forum

, , , , , , and



The social sciences have become increasingly important in understanding natural resource management contexts and audiences, and are essential in design and delivery of effective and durable management strategies. Yet many agencies and organizations do not have the necessary resource management. We draw on the textbook definition of HD: how and why people value natural resources, what benefits people seek and derive from those resources, and how people affect and are affected by those resources and their management (Decker, Brown, and Seimer 2001). Clearly articulating how HD information can be used and integrated into natural resource management planning and decision-making is an important challenge faced by the HD field. To address this challenge, we formed a collaborative team to explore the issue of HD capacity-building for natural resource organizations and to advance the HD field. We define HD capacity as activities, efforts, and resources that enhance the ability of HD researchers and practitioners and natural managers and decision-makers to understand and address the social aspects of conservation. Specifically, we sought to examine current barriers to integration of HD into natural resource management, knowledge needed to improve HD capacity, and existing HD tools, resources, and training opportunities. We conducted a needs assessment of HD experts and practitioners, developed a framework for considering HD activities that can contribute both directly and indirectly throughout any phase of an adaptive management cycle, and held a workshop to review preliminary findings and gather additional input through breakout group discussions. This paper provides highlights from our collaborative initiative to help frame and inform future HD capacity-building efforts and natural resource organizations and also provides a list of existing human dimensions tools and resources.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
The state of human dimensions capacity for natural resource management: needs, knowledge, and resources
Series title:
The George Wright Forum
Year Published:
The George Wright Society
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
12 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
The George Wright Forum
First page:
Last page: