Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology

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Experts, Expert Knowledge, and Their Roles in Landscape Ecological Applications

  • Ajith H. PereraAffiliated withOntario Forest Research Institute Email author 
  • , C. Ashton DrewAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, North Carolina State University
  • , Chris J. JohnsonAffiliated withEcosystem Science and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia

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In an attempt to develop a forest succession model that simulates scenarios of future landscape patterns, researchers encounter many gaps in the published knowledge of forest succession trajectories. They resort to consulting local foresters and using their knowledge of forest succession to parameterize the model. In another situation, management of an elusive bird species requires estimates of the likelihood of its occurrence under specific sets of site conditions. Because the habitat characteristics of this species are not well studied or have not been published, the investigators seek the advice of specialist wildlife biologists to learn where these birds could potentially occur. In yet another case, natural resource and conservation professionals turn to expert knowledge to help them conserve or manage wildlife habitats in high-risk environments, and researchers investigate the relative merits of that expert knowledge in comparison with empirical data, as well the uncertainty and variability in expert-based predictions.