The science-practice interface of connectivity in England
A disconnect has been identified at the interface between landscape science and practice. More commonly, it is assumed that better or more targeted science would lead to better practice. Others argue that such a view is partial, and propose an understanding that foregrounds how social and political factors shape the science-practice interface.
In this study we explore how (the combination of) different conceptualisations, novel governance architectures, and political-economic conditions shape the science-practice interface between landscape ecology and practice, using connectivity conservation and enhancement initiatives in England as a case study.
We conducted interviews (n = 36) with practitioners involved in connectivity-related projects (predominantly Nature Improvement Areas and Green Infrastructure initiatives). We transcribed and analysed the interviews using standard methods of qualitative analysis. We also conducted a desk study of green infrastructure strategies (n = 58 documents).
Enhancing or maintaining connectivity is perceived positively by conservation and planning practitioners in England. Considering both planning and ecological contexts, quantitative assessments are rare on the ground. Conceptual ambiguity, lack of resources (time, personnel, software and hardware), novel governance architectures, and changing economic and political conditions are implicated.
We find that the co-articulation of conceptual ambiguity and resource issues with novel forms of governance in changing economies is diminishing opportunities and creating challenges for (ecological) connectivity conservation. This is particularly true in relation to large scale operationalisation that requires multi-scale and multi-partner coordination.
KeywordsConnectivity Landscape scale Implementation gap Green infrastructure Governance Financial crisis
Funding was provided by FP7 EC Grant (Grant 226 852 (SCALES project)).
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