A collaborative approach to bridging the gap between wildlife managers and researchers

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



Although most wildlife professionals agree that science should inform wildlife management decisions, disconnect still exists between researchers and managers. If researchers are not striving to incorporate their findings into management decisions, support for research programs by managers can wane. If managers are not using research findings to inform management decisions, those decisions may be less effective or more vulnerable to legal challenges. Both of these situations can have negative consequences for wildlife conservation. We outline a collaborative research‐management approach to bridging the gap between wildlife managers and researchers. We describe differences in perspectives, perceptions, and priorities between managers and researchers; outline how and why the divide between researchers and managers has likely occurred and continues to grow; and present specific strategies and recommendations to foster stronger collaborations between managers and researchers. We advocate increased synergy between managers and researchers based on a shared vision of conservation and a collaborative structure that rewards researchers and managers. Most importantly, we suggest that relationships and communication between managers and researchers must be established early in research development and decision‐making processes, fostering the trust needed for collaboration. Institutions and agencies can facilitate these relationships by creating opportunities and incentives for integrating collaborative research into management decisions. We suggest this approach will strengthen ties between researchers and managers, increase relevance of research to management decisions, promote effectiveness of management decisions, reduce legal challenges, and ultimately produce positive, tangible, and lasting effects on wildlife conservation. 

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A collaborative approach to bridging the gap between wildlife managers and researchers
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21759
Volume 83
Issue 8
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher The Wildlife Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 8 p.
First page 1644
Last page 1651
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