How to build science-action partnerships for local land-use planning and management: Lessons from Durban, South Africa

Jessica Cockburn, Mathieu Rouget, Rob Slotow, Debra Roberts, Richard Boon, Errol Douwes, Sean O’donoghue, Colleen T. Downs, Shomen Mukherjee, Walter Musakwa, Onisimo Mutanga, Tarombera Mwabvu, John Odindi, Alfred Odindo, Şerban Procheş, Syd Ramdhani, Jayanti Ray-Mukherjee, Sershen, M. Corrie Schoeman, Albertus J. SmitEdilegnaw Wale, Sandi Willows-Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The gap between scientific knowledge and implementation in the fields of biodiversity conservation, environmental management, and climate change adaptation has resulted in many calls from practitioners and academics to provide practical solutions responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change, e.g., Future Earth. We present a framework to guide the implementation of science-action partnerships based on a real-world case study of a partnership between a local municipality and an academic institution to bridge the science-action gap in the eThekwini Municipal Area, South Africa. This partnership aims to inform the implementation of sustainable land-use planning, biodiversity conservation, environmental management, and climate change adaptation practice and contributes to the development of human capacity in these areas of expertise. Using a transdisciplinary approach, implementation-driven research is being conducted to develop several decision-making products to better inform land-use planning and management. Lessons learned through this partnership are synthesized and presented as a framework of enabling actions operating at different levels, from the individual to the interorganizational. Enabling actions include putting in place enabling organizational preconditions, assembling a functional well-structured team, and actively building interpersonal and individual collaborative capacity. Lessons learned in the case study emphasize the importance of building collaborative capacity and social capital, and paying attention to the process of transdisciplinary research to achieve more tangible science, management, and policy objectives in science-action partnerships. By documenting and reflecting on the process, this case study provides conceptual and practical guidance on bridging the science-action gap through partnerships.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalEcology and Society
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Boundary organization
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Collaboration
  • Environmental management
  • Sustainable development
  • Transdisciplinary research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

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