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Why don’t ecologists get 
more respect? 
Dawn R. Bazely 
Biology Department, York University, 
Toronto 
Wed 29 Oct 2014, C...
“If you want advice on how to save the 
planet don’t walk into an ecology 
department.” 
Hugh Possingham (Ecologist & co-d...
The ecologists’ framework...
“Today the world’s major unsolved 
challenges all revolve around 
science. By the 2012 election 
cycle, at a time when sci...
Why don’t people listen to 
ecologists? 
• The science is too difficult? 
• Ecologists are terrible communicators? 
• We t...
Only 18% of Americans have 
actually met a scientist
Council of Canadian Academies 
report: Science Culture: Where 
Canada Stands 2014 
http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/asse 
ss...
Ecologists need help with 
• Understanding: 
• How science feeds into policy… 
• How policy is different from politics 
• ...
The policy ecosystem 
Hoogensen et al. 2009 Journal of Human Security.
Policy Defined 
“A policy is typically described as a 
principle or rule to guide decisions and 
achieve rational outcome(...
Human Security 
“freedom from fear, freedom from 
want” 
United Nations 1994 
CAUX Forum
International Polar Year GAPS project 
Gas, Arctic Peoples & Security 
Students: Nora, Paul & Milissa
Conceptualizing Human 
Security
Movement corridors for species
Non-Indigenous Plants in the 
Northwest Territories, Canada 
• Non-indigenous species are already here 
19
Non-Indigenous Plants in the 
Northwest Territories, Canada 
Their numbers decline as we go further 
north 20
Making the case for the 
concept
Interdisciplinary collaborations 
• Are not all equal 
• science academics + NGOs + 
government bureaucrats (multiple 
sta...
Uncomfortable & not for 
everyone! 
• Not all academics share the same goals 
• e.g. Political Ecologists offer a critique...
Benefits of interdisciplinary 
collaborations are still unclear 
• Science of Team Science research asks IF 
& HOW collabo...
My world for 7 years! 
Drolet, D. 2014. Meet 5 academics who have switched disciplines 
mid-career. University Affairs, Fe...
Bringing it back to Southern 
Ontario Forests
Forests in Southern Ontario
Trillium 
Tanentzap et al. 2010 Forest Ecology & Management
How deer alter forests
RONDEAU 2009 
31 
Rondeau Provincial Park post-years of deer 
herd reductions: politically unpopular but 
evidence-based m...
Don’t hide from media
Ecology’s contribution… 
• … to the broader collaborative, 
interdisciplinary table? 
• IMO, kick-ass flow charts
Knowledge as a nutrient
For increasing resilience 
35
Dr. Carlos Nobre, Brazil IPCC
“get a meeting with the minister” 
I explained to Donna 
Cansfield (Minister of 
Natural Resources) in 
2009 that science ...
Participate beyond science eg. 
Ontario’s Human-Wildlife Conflict 
Advisory Group 
• Provides advice and support to the 
i...
Engage in the Science-Policy 
Interface
Write text books!
Why get out of our comfort zone?
Acknowledgements 
• Norwegian Research Council, for Leiv 
Eiriksson Mobility Fund support. 
• International Polar Year, Go...
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014
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Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014

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I gave a keynote presentation at Carolinian Canada's Ecosystem Recovery Forum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario, asking, "Why Don't Ecologists Get More Respect?"
https://caroliniancanada.ca/events/2014-ecosystem-recovery-forum

Published in: Science

Carolinian canada rbg oct 2014

  1. 1. Why don’t ecologists get more respect? Dawn R. Bazely Biology Department, York University, Toronto Wed 29 Oct 2014, Carolinian Canada Ecoystem Recovery Forum, Royal Botanic Gardens, Hamilton, ON, Canada http://bit.ly/13muPEZ
  2. 2. “If you want advice on how to save the planet don’t walk into an ecology department.” Hugh Possingham (Ecologist & co-developer of MARXAN software) March 2009, Fenner Conference on the Environment, Australia
  3. 3. The ecologists’ framework...
  4. 4. “Today the world’s major unsolved challenges all revolve around science. By the 2012 election cycle, at a time when science is influencing every aspect of modern life, anti-science views from climate-change denial to creationism to vaccine refusal have become mainstream.” Shawn Otto in Fool Me Twice
  5. 5. Why don’t people listen to ecologists? • The science is too difficult? • Ecologists are terrible communicators? • We talk about depressing doom & gloom scenarios?
  6. 6. Only 18% of Americans have actually met a scientist
  7. 7. Council of Canadian Academies report: Science Culture: Where Canada Stands 2014 http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/asse ssments/completed/science-culture. aspx
  8. 8. Ecologists need help with • Understanding: • How science feeds into policy… • How policy is different from politics • We need social scientists!
  9. 9. The policy ecosystem Hoogensen et al. 2009 Journal of Human Security.
  10. 10. Policy Defined “A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedure or protocol” Wikipedia
  11. 11. Human Security “freedom from fear, freedom from want” United Nations 1994 CAUX Forum
  12. 12. International Polar Year GAPS project Gas, Arctic Peoples & Security Students: Nora, Paul & Milissa
  13. 13. Conceptualizing Human Security
  14. 14. Movement corridors for species
  15. 15. Non-Indigenous Plants in the Northwest Territories, Canada • Non-indigenous species are already here 19
  16. 16. Non-Indigenous Plants in the Northwest Territories, Canada Their numbers decline as we go further north 20
  17. 17. Making the case for the concept
  18. 18. Interdisciplinary collaborations • Are not all equal • science academics + NGOs + government bureaucrats (multiple stakeholder groups) • ≠ • collaborations between science academics and different kinds of academics from the social sciences and humanities
  19. 19. Uncomfortable & not for everyone! • Not all academics share the same goals • e.g. Political Ecologists offer a critique that includes the “science agenda” and ecologists
  20. 20. Benefits of interdisciplinary collaborations are still unclear • Science of Team Science research asks IF & HOW collaboration generates novel, innovative, transdisciplinary solutions • Previously, there’s been little rigorous assessment
  21. 21. My world for 7 years! Drolet, D. 2014. Meet 5 academics who have switched disciplines mid-career. University Affairs, February 12. (that’s me…)
  22. 22. Bringing it back to Southern Ontario Forests
  23. 23. Forests in Southern Ontario
  24. 24. Trillium Tanentzap et al. 2010 Forest Ecology & Management
  25. 25. How deer alter forests
  26. 26. RONDEAU 2009 31 Rondeau Provincial Park post-years of deer herd reductions: politically unpopular but evidence-based management
  27. 27. Don’t hide from media
  28. 28. Ecology’s contribution… • … to the broader collaborative, interdisciplinary table? • IMO, kick-ass flow charts
  29. 29. Knowledge as a nutrient
  30. 30. For increasing resilience 35
  31. 31. Dr. Carlos Nobre, Brazil IPCC
  32. 32. “get a meeting with the minister” I explained to Donna Cansfield (Minister of Natural Resources) in 2009 that science was being swept aside and that forest health, as assumed under various acts (eg ORM) was declining via lack of action
  33. 33. Participate beyond science eg. Ontario’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Advisory Group • Provides advice and support to the implementation of the “Strategy for Preventing and Managing Human- Wildlife Conflicts in Ontario” and “Strategy for Preventing and Managing Human-Deer Conflicts in Southern Ontario””. • notes from first meeting June 2009
  34. 34. Engage in the Science-Policy Interface
  35. 35. Write text books!
  36. 36. Why get out of our comfort zone?
  37. 37. Acknowledgements • Norwegian Research Council, for Leiv Eiriksson Mobility Fund support. • International Polar Year, Government of Canada 2006-11. • Harvard Forest, Harvard University, for a Charles Bullard Fellowship 2011-12 • For opportunities to get outside of the science box into the science-policy-politics space

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