The role of citizen science in landscape and seascape approaches to integrating conservation and development

Sayer, Jeffrey, Margules, Chris, Bohnet, Iris, Boedhihartono, Agni, Pierce, Ray, Dale, Allan, and Andrews, Kate (2015) The role of citizen science in landscape and seascape approaches to integrating conservation and development. Land, 4 (4). pp. 1200-1212.

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Initiatives to manage landscapes for both biodiversity protection and sustainable development commonly employ participatory methods to exploit the knowledge of citizens. We review five examples of citizen groups engaging with landscape scale conservation initiatives to contribute their knowledge, collect data for monitoring programs, study systems to detect patterns, and test hypotheses on aspects of landscape dynamics. Three are from landscape interventions that deliberately target biodiversity conservation and aim to have sustainable development as a collateral outcome. The other two are driven primarily by concerns for agricultural sustainability with biodiversity conservation as a collateral outcome. All five include programs in which, management agencies support data collection by citizen groups to monitor landscape changes. Situations where citizen groups self-organise to collect data and interpret data to aid in landscape scale decision making are less common and are restricted to landscapes where the inhabitants have a high level of scientific literacy. Given the complexity of landscape processes and the multiple decision makers who influence landscape outcomes we argue that citizen science broadly defined should be an essential element of landscape scale initiatives. Conservation managers should create space for citizen engagement in science and should empower citizen groups to experiment, learn, and adapt their decision-making to improve landscape scale outcomes.

Item ID: 41594
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2073-445X
Keywords: landscape approaches; conservation and development trade-offs; integrated landscape management; social learning; biodiversity surveys and monitoring
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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (

Funders: James Cook University, Centre for Tropical Environment and Sustainability Science, Northern Futures Collaborative Research Network (CRN)
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2015 02:39
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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