Transdisciplinary synthesis for ecosystem science, policy and management: The Australian experience

Jasmyn LYNCH, Richard Thackway, Alison Specht, P Beggs, S Brisbane, Emma Burns, M Byrne, Samantha Capon, M Casanova, P Clarke, J Davies, Stephen Dovers, R Dwyer, E Ens, Diana O. Fisher, M Flanigan, Eric Garnier, S Guru, K Kilminster, J Locke & 8 others Ralph MAC NALLY, K McMahon, P Mitchell, J Pierson, E Rodgers, Jeremy Russell-Smith, J Udy, M Waycott

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Mitigating the environmental effects of global population growth, climatic change and increasing socio-ecological complexity is a daunting challenge. To tackle this requires synthesis: the integration of disparate information to generate novel insights from heterogeneous, complex situations where there are diverse perspectives. Since 1995, a structured approach to inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary. 11Transdisciplinary: A theory, methodology, point of view or perspective that transcends entrenched categories and engages both researchers and practitioners in formulating problems in new ways to address real-world problems (e.g. eco-health, ecosystem services). collaboration around big science questions has been supported through synthesis centres around the world. These centres are finding an expanding role due to ever-accumulating data and the need for more and better opportunities to develop transdisciplinary and holistic approaches to solve real-world problems. The Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS ) has been the pioneering ecosystem science synthesis centre in the Southern Hemisphere. Such centres provide analysis and synthesis opportunities for time-pressed scientists, policy-makers and managers. They provide the scientific and organisational environs for virtual and face-to-face engagement, impetus for integration, data and methodological support, and innovative ways to deliver synthesis products.We detail the contribution, role and value of synthesis using ACEAS to exemplify the capacity for synthesis centres to facilitate trans-organisational, transdisciplinary synthesis. We compare ACEAS to other international synthesis centres, and describe how it facilitated project teams and its objective of linking natural resource science to policy to management. Scientists and managers were brought together to actively collaborate in multi-institutional, cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary research on contemporary ecological problems. The teams analysed, integrated and synthesised existing data to co-develop solution-oriented publications and management recommendations that might otherwise not have been produced. We identify key outcomes of some ACEAS working groups which used synthesis to tackle important ecosystem challenges. We also examine the barriers and enablers to synthesis, so that risks can be minimised and successful outcomes maximised. We argue that synthesis centres have a crucial role in developing, communicating and using synthetic transdisciplinary research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)173-184
    Number of pages12
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume534
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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    Ecosystems
    ecosystem
    holistic approach
    environmental effect
    ecosystem service
    Southern Hemisphere
    population growth
    natural resource
    policy
    analysis
    science
    climate change
    methodology
    Managers
    Data integration
    Natural resources
    Environmental impact

    Cite this

    LYNCH, Jasmyn ; Thackway, Richard ; Specht, Alison ; Beggs, P ; Brisbane, S ; Burns, Emma ; Byrne, M ; Capon, Samantha ; Casanova, M ; Clarke, P ; Davies, J ; Dovers, Stephen ; Dwyer, R ; Ens, E ; Fisher, Diana O. ; Flanigan, M ; Garnier, Eric ; Guru, S ; Kilminster, K ; Locke, J ; MAC NALLY, Ralph ; McMahon, K ; Mitchell, P ; Pierson, J ; Rodgers, E ; Russell-Smith, Jeremy ; Udy, J ; Waycott, M. / Transdisciplinary synthesis for ecosystem science, policy and management: The Australian experience. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2015 ; Vol. 534. pp. 173-184.
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    abstract = "Mitigating the environmental effects of global population growth, climatic change and increasing socio-ecological complexity is a daunting challenge. To tackle this requires synthesis: the integration of disparate information to generate novel insights from heterogeneous, complex situations where there are diverse perspectives. Since 1995, a structured approach to inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary. 11Transdisciplinary: A theory, methodology, point of view or perspective that transcends entrenched categories and engages both researchers and practitioners in formulating problems in new ways to address real-world problems (e.g. eco-health, ecosystem services). collaboration around big science questions has been supported through synthesis centres around the world. These centres are finding an expanding role due to ever-accumulating data and the need for more and better opportunities to develop transdisciplinary and holistic approaches to solve real-world problems. The Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS ) has been the pioneering ecosystem science synthesis centre in the Southern Hemisphere. Such centres provide analysis and synthesis opportunities for time-pressed scientists, policy-makers and managers. They provide the scientific and organisational environs for virtual and face-to-face engagement, impetus for integration, data and methodological support, and innovative ways to deliver synthesis products.We detail the contribution, role and value of synthesis using ACEAS to exemplify the capacity for synthesis centres to facilitate trans-organisational, transdisciplinary synthesis. We compare ACEAS to other international synthesis centres, and describe how it facilitated project teams and its objective of linking natural resource science to policy to management. Scientists and managers were brought together to actively collaborate in multi-institutional, cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary research on contemporary ecological problems. The teams analysed, integrated and synthesised existing data to co-develop solution-oriented publications and management recommendations that might otherwise not have been produced. We identify key outcomes of some ACEAS working groups which used synthesis to tackle important ecosystem challenges. We also examine the barriers and enablers to synthesis, so that risks can be minimised and successful outcomes maximised. We argue that synthesis centres have a crucial role in developing, communicating and using synthetic transdisciplinary research.",
    author = "Jasmyn LYNCH and Richard Thackway and Alison Specht and P Beggs and S Brisbane and Emma Burns and M Byrne and Samantha Capon and M Casanova and P Clarke and J Davies and Stephen Dovers and R Dwyer and E Ens and Fisher, {Diana O.} and M Flanigan and Eric Garnier and S Guru and K Kilminster and J Locke and {MAC NALLY}, Ralph and K McMahon and P Mitchell and J Pierson and E Rodgers and Jeremy Russell-Smith and J Udy and M Waycott",
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    LYNCH, J, Thackway, R, Specht, A, Beggs, P, Brisbane, S, Burns, E, Byrne, M, Capon, S, Casanova, M, Clarke, P, Davies, J, Dovers, S, Dwyer, R, Ens, E, Fisher, DO, Flanigan, M, Garnier, E, Guru, S, Kilminster, K, Locke, J, MAC NALLY, R, McMahon, K, Mitchell, P, Pierson, J, Rodgers, E, Russell-Smith, J, Udy, J & Waycott, M 2015, 'Transdisciplinary synthesis for ecosystem science, policy and management: The Australian experience', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 534, pp. 173-184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.100

    Transdisciplinary synthesis for ecosystem science, policy and management: The Australian experience. / LYNCH, Jasmyn; Thackway, Richard; Specht, Alison; Beggs, P; Brisbane, S; Burns, Emma; Byrne, M; Capon, Samantha; Casanova, M; Clarke, P; Davies, J; Dovers, Stephen; Dwyer, R; Ens, E; Fisher, Diana O.; Flanigan, M; Garnier, Eric; Guru, S; Kilminster, K; Locke, J; MAC NALLY, Ralph; McMahon, K; Mitchell, P; Pierson, J; Rodgers, E; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Udy, J; Waycott, M.

    In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 534, 2015, p. 173-184.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - LYNCH, Jasmyn

    AU - Thackway, Richard

    AU - Specht, Alison

    AU - Beggs, P

    AU - Brisbane, S

    AU - Burns, Emma

    AU - Byrne, M

    AU - Capon, Samantha

    AU - Casanova, M

    AU - Clarke, P

    AU - Davies, J

    AU - Dovers, Stephen

    AU - Dwyer, R

    AU - Ens, E

    AU - Fisher, Diana O.

    AU - Flanigan, M

    AU - Garnier, Eric

    AU - Guru, S

    AU - Kilminster, K

    AU - Locke, J

    AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

    AU - McMahon, K

    AU - Mitchell, P

    AU - Pierson, J

    AU - Rodgers, E

    AU - Russell-Smith, Jeremy

    AU - Udy, J

    AU - Waycott, M

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