Bridging the Knowledge Gap towards more Resilient Environmental Decision Making

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 3:25 PM
Christine Kirchhoff, University of Connecticut, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Storrs, CT, United States
Managing environmental risks including those from climate variability and change requires knowledge-intensive adaptive management and policy-making actively informed by scientific knowledge. However despite the rapid evolution and growing complexity in models of science-society interaction, the rate and breath of use of scientific knowledge in environmental decision making, especially related to climate variability and change, remain below expectations. This suggests a persistent gap between production and use that, to date, efforts to rethink and restructure science production have not been able to surmount. To begin to understand why this gap persists, I review different models of science-policy interfaces to understand how they have influenced the organization of knowledge production and application. Included in this review is a consideration of general and specific knowledge used (or not) for decision- and policy-making at different scales focusing on the water sector. Lastly, the review considers what structures or interconnections need to be in place to foster incorporation of knowledge in ways that foster more resilient governance and management decisions. Building on this review, I then explore how new approaches to the creation of knowledge have emerged and what gaps remain in fostering greater use of knowledge in environmental decision making.