Skip to main content
Log in

Bridging Disciplines, Knowledge Systems and Cultures in Pest Management

Environmental Management Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The success of research in integrated environmental and natural resource management relies on the participation and involvement of different disciplines and stakeholders. This can be difficult to achieve in practice because many initiatives fail to address the underlying social processes required for successful engagement and social learning. We used an action research approach to support a research-based group with a range of disciplinary and stakeholder expertise to critically reflect on their engagement practice and identify lessons around how to collaborate more effectively. This approach is provided here as a guide that can be used to support reflective research practice for engagement in other integration-based initiatives. This paper is set in the context of an integrated wildlife management research case study in New Zealand. We illustrate how multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches can provide a framework for considering the different conversations that need to occur in an integrated research program. We then outline rubrics that list the criteria required in inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborations, along with examples of effective engagement processes that directly support integration through such efforts. Finally, we discuss the implications of these experiences for other researchers and managers seeking to improve engagement and collaboration in integrated science, management and policy initiatives. Our experiences reaffirm the need for those involved in integrative initiatives to attend to the processes of engagement in both formal and informal settings, to provide opportunities for critical reflective practice, and to look for measures of success that acknowledge the importance of effective social process.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Indigenous people of New Zealand

  2. Māori tribe

  3. A traditional Māori tribal meeting place

  4. Māori sub-tribe

  5. Endemic New Zealand passerine bird, Mohoua ochrocephala

References

  • Allen W, Jacobson C (2009) Learning about the social elements of adaptive management in the South Island tussock grasslands of New Zealand. In: Allan C, Stansky G (eds) Adaptive environmental management: a practitioner’s guide. Springer Science and Business Media B.V., Dordrecht, pp 95–114

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Allen W, Kilvington MJ (2005) Getting technical environmental information into watershed decision making. In: Hatfield JL (ed) The farmers’ decision: balancing economic successful agriculture production with environmental quality. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny, IA, pp 45–61

    Google Scholar 

  • Allen W, Bosch OJH, Kilvington MJ, Oliver J (2001) Benefits of collaborative learning for environmental management: Applying the Integrated Systems for Knowledge Management approach to support animal pest control. Environ Manage 27(2):215–223

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Allen W, Fenemor A, Kilvington M, Harmsworth G, Young R, Deans N, Horn C, Phillips C, de Oca O, Ataria J, Smith R (2011) Building collaboration and learning in integrated catchment management: the importance of social process and multiple engagement approaches. N Z J Mar Freshwater Res 45(3):525–539

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Apgar JM, Argumedo A, Allen W (2009) Building transdisciplinarity for managing complexity: Lessons from indigenous practice. Int J Interdiscipl Soc Sci 4(5):255–270

    Google Scholar 

  • Blackie HM, Woodhead I, Diegel H, MacMorran D, Shapiro L, Murphy E, Eason CT (2011) Integrating ecology and technology to create innovative pest control devices. Proceedings of the 8th European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference, Berlin, p. 152–153

  • Blackie HA, MacKay JWB, Allen WJ, Smith DHV, Barrett B, Whyte BI, Murphy EC, Ross J, Shapiro L, Ogilvie S, Sam S, MacMorran D, Inder S, Eason CT. (2013) Innovative developments for long-term mammalian pest control in New Zealand. Pest Manage. Sci. doi:10.1002/ps.3627

  • Campbell LM (2005) Overcoming obstacles to interdisciplinary research. Conserv Biol 19(2):574–577

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coleman J, Caley P (2000) Possums as a reservoir of bovine TB. In: Montague TL (ed) The brushtail possum. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, pp 92–104

    Google Scholar 

  • Cowan PE, Tyndale-Biscoe CH (1997) Australian and New Zealand mammal species considered to be pests or problems. Reprod Fertil Dev 9:27–36

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dilks P, Shapiro L, Greene T, Kavermann MJ, Eason CT, Murphy EC (2011) Field evaluation of para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) for controlling stoats (Mustela erminea) in New Zealand. N Z J Zool 38(2):143–150

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eason CT, Ogilvie S, Ross JG, Murphy E, Henderson R, MacMorran D, et al (2010) Trends in vertebrate pesticide use and new developments: New Zealand perspectives and international implications. In: R.M. Timm and M.B Madon, Eds. Proceedings of 24th Vertebrate Pest Conference, University of California, Davis, Davis, p 91–96

  • Eigenbrode SD, O’Rourke M, Wulfhorst JD, Althoff DM, Goldberg CS, Merrill K, Morse W, Nielsen-Pincus M, Stephens J, Winowiecki L, Bosque-Perez NA (2007) Employing philosophical dialogue in collaborative science. BioScience 57:55–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Finlay L (2008) Reflecting on ‘Reflective practice’. A discussion paper prepared for Practice-based Professional Learning Centre (PBPL CETL). The Open University’s Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, 52. UK. http://www.open.ac.uk/cetl-workspace/cetlcontent/documents/4bf2b48887459.pdf. Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Flood RL (2010) The relationship of ‘systems thinking’ to action research. Syst Prac Act Res 23:269–284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haapasaari P, Kulmala S, Kuikka S (2012) Growing into interdisciplinarity: How to converge biology, economics, and social science in fisheries research? Ecol Soc 17(1):6 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol17/iss1/art6/. Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Hellstrom J, Moore D, Black M (2008) Think piece on the future of pest management in New Zealand. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/surv-mgmt/think-piece-pest-management.pdf. Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Huang HB (2010) What is good action research? Why the resurgence? Act Res 8:93–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ison RL (2008) Systems thinking and practice for action research. In: Reason PW, Bradbury H (eds) The Sage handbook of action research participative inquiry and practice, 2nd edn. Sage Publications, London, pp 139–158

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Jacobson C, Allen W, Veltman C, Ramsey D, Forsyth DM, Nicol S, Todd C, Barker R (2009) Collaborative learning as part of adaptive management of forests affected by deer. In: Allan C, Stansky G (eds) Adaptive environmental management: a practitioner’s guide. Springer Science and Business Media B.V., Dordrecht, p. 275–294

  • Jahn T, Bergmann M, Keil F (2012) Transdisciplinarity: between mainstreaming and marginalization. Ecol Econ 79:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kemmis S (2009) Action research as a practice-based practice. Educ Action Res 17(3):463–474

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kōrero Māori (n.d.) http://www.korero.maori.nz/forlearners/protocols/ Website developed by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori—the Māori Language Commission, New Zealand. Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • MacMynowski DP (2007) Pausing at the brink of interdisciplinarity: power and knowledge at the meeting of social and biophysical science. Ecol Soc 12(1):20 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss1/art20/ Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Margles SW, Peterson RB, Ervin J, Kaplin B (2010) Conservation without borders: building communication and action across disciplinary boundaries for effective conservation. Environ Manage 45:1–4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McLennan JA, Potter MA, Robertson HA, Wake GC, Colbourne R, Dew L, Joyce L, McCann AJ, Miles J, Miller PJ, Reid J (1996) Role of predation in the decline of kiwi, Apteryx spp., in New Zealand. N Z J Ecol 20:27–35

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller TR, Baird TD, Littlefield CM, Kofinas G, Chapin F, Redman CL (2008) Epistemological pluralism: reorganizing interdisciplinary research. Ecol Soc 13(2):46 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol13/iss2/art46/ Accessed 22 Sept 2013

    Google Scholar 

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (2009) Economic costs of pests to New Zealand. MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Technical Paper No: 2009/31, Wellington, New Zealand. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/surv-mgmt/economic-costs-ofpests-to-new-zealand.pdf

  • Morse WC, Nielsen-Pincus M, Force J, Wulfhorst J (2007) Bridges and barriers to developing and conducting interdisciplinary graduate-student team research. Ecol Soc 12(2):8 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art8/ Accessed 22 Sept 2013

    Google Scholar 

  • Oakden, J. (2013) Evaluation rubrics: how to ensure transparent and clear assessment that respects diverse lines of evidence. BetterEvaluation, Melbourne, Victoria. http://betterevaluation.org/sites/default/files/Evaluation%20rubrics.pdf Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Parkes J, Murphy E (2003) Management of introduced mammals in New Zealand. N Z J Zool 30:335–359

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • PCE (2011) Evaluating the use of 1080: predators, poisons, and silent forests. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Wellington

    Google Scholar 

  • Phillips C, Allen W, Fenemor A, Bowden B, Young R (2010) Integrated catchment management research: lessons for interdisciplinary science from the Motueka Catchment, New Zealand. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 61:749–763

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Plummer R, Armitage DR (2007) Charting the new territory of adaptive co-management: a Delphi study. Ecol Soc 12(2):10 http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art10/ Accessed 22 Sept 2013

    Google Scholar 

  • Podestá GP, Natenzon CE, Hidalgo C, Toranzo FR (2012) Interdisciplinary production of knowledge with participation of stakeholders: a case study of a collaborative project on climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine pampas. Environ Sci Policy 26:40–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reed MS (2010) Stakeholder participation for environmental management: a literature review. Biol Conserv 141:2417–2431

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Robinson P, Genskow K, Shaw B, Shepard R (2012) Barriers and opportunities for integrating social science into natural resource management: lessons from national estuarine research reserves. Environ Manage 50:998–1011

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roughley A, Salt D (2005) Introduction of social sciences in Australian natural resource management agencies. J Res Pract 1(2):1–25 http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/12/27 Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Sievanen L, Campbell L, Leslie H (2011) Challenges to interdisciplinary research in ecosystem-based management. Conserv Biol 26(2):315–323

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tress B, Tress G, Fry G (2005) Researchers’ experiences, positive and negative, in integrative landscape projects. Environ Manage 36(6):792–807

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wadsworth Y (1998) What is participatory action research? Action Research International, Paper 2 http://www.aral.com.au/ari/p-ywadsworth98.html Accessed 22 Sept 2013

  • Wilson KJ (2004) Flight of the huia: ecology and conservation of New Zealand’s frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch

Download references

Acknowledgments

Funding for this research was provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The authors would like to acknowledge the many stakeholders we have worked with through these research programs. Participatory action research such as is described here is not possible without the support and goodwill of all those involved. Marina Apgar kindly provided useful and insightful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. This manuscript has also benefitted by comments from three anonymous reviewers.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Will Allen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Allen, W., Ogilvie, S., Blackie, H. et al. Bridging Disciplines, Knowledge Systems and Cultures in Pest Management. Environmental Management 53, 429–440 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0180-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0180-z

Keywords

Navigation