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Wetlands

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1223–1232 | Cite as

Science as a Bridge in Communicating Needs and Implementing Changes towards Wetland Conservation in Taiwan

  • Hsiao-Wen WangEmail author
  • Adrienne Dodd
  • Pin-Han Kuo
  • Ben LePage
Socioeconomic aspects of Wetlands

Abstract

Ecosystem services provided by wetlands, defined as the benefits and uses a wetland provides to people, are often overlooked by decision and policy makers. This not only hinders wetland conservation efforts, but failure to acknowledge and protect these services threatens the communities who rely on the wetlands. Inclusion of stakeholders in the creation of wetland management plans can alleviate this issue, but as local knowledge is often ignored or not considered seriously, local stakeholders can be discouraged from participating. To address this problem, we incorporated Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology in the development of a wetland management plan in southwestern Taiwan, using science as a bridge between local people and decision makers. Following PAR methods, we used sound scientific evidence to validate community concerns, provided local partners with the scientific tools necessary to analyze wetland data themselves, and went through the process of working with the government to enact water management changes together with local partners. Such methods resulted in empowerment of local people, restoration of wetland habitat, and mitigation of flood risk. By incorporating scientific principles with PAR methodology as a tool for communication and empowerment between stakeholders, both conservation and local community needs can be addressed and resolved.

Keywords

Community participation Ecosystem services Participatory action research (PAR) Wetland management 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsiao-Wen Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adrienne Dodd
    • 1
  • Pin-Han Kuo
    • 2
  • Ben LePage
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Hydraulic and Ocean EngineeringNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Remediation DepartmentSan RamonUSA
  4. 4.Academy of Natural SciencesPhiladelphiaUSA

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