Initiating dialogue between scientists and managers of biological invasions
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We describe an initiative to improve the flow of information between researchers and managers as part of two international scientific symposia on biological invasions held in South Africa in 2008 and 2009. Formal workshops and information sessions for land managers were run during the symposia. At the end of each symposium, the managers ran dedicated question-and-answer sessions on the research they felt was needed to improve their work. We discuss the potential of such interventions to increase interaction and awareness between researchers and managers of biological invasions. The symposia certainly provided the managers with opportunities to think about broader issues and develop contacts, but problems with terminology use and the lack of solutions specific to their context tempered the value of their experience. Conversely, researchers at times under-estimated the managers perceived relevance of their presentations to management. The structured and facilitated attendance of managers of invasive plants at international conferences on invasion biology is one mechanism for at least narrowing “the gap” between science and management.