Building translational ecology communities of practice: insights from the field

Dawn M. Lawson, Kimberly R. Hall, Laurie Yung, Carolyn A.F. Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Translational ecology (TE) prioritizes the understanding of social systems and decision contexts in order to address complex natural resource management issues. Although many practitioners in applied fields employ translational tactics, the body of literature addressing such approaches is limited. We present several case studies illustrating the principles of TE and the diversity of its applications. We anticipate that these examples will help others develop scientific products that decision makers can use “off the shelf” when solving critical ecological and social challenges. Our collective experience suggests that research of such immediate utility is rare. Long-term commitment to working directly with partners to develop and reach shared goals is central to successful translation. The examples discussed here highlight the benefits of translational processes, including actionable scientific results, more informed policy making, increased investment in science-driven solutions, and inspiration for partnerships. We aim to facilitate future TE-based projects and build momentum for growing this community of practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2017


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