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Issues of multi-disciplinarity in conservation biology research: Lessons learned and challenges for the future

Moore, S.A., Rodger, K. and Newsome, D. (2007) Issues of multi-disciplinarity in conservation biology research: Lessons learned and challenges for the future. In: Society for Conservation Biology 21st Annual Meeting, 1 - 5 July, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


Researching tourism and its interface with the natural environment can provide important insights into recent critical issues in multi-disciplinarity and its potential contributions to conservation biology. This paper reviews three recent multi-disciplinary research projects, located at the interface between tourism and conservation biology, to describe the lessons learned and challenges associated with such research. These projects were examining the social and environmental impacts of visitors in protected forests in south-western Australia, analysing the interface between tourism and biodiversity, also in this part of Australia and recognised as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, and describing the reasons why ecologists and biologists may or may not engage in tourism research. Review of these projects suggested at least three important lessons if multi-disciplinarity is to contribute to the science and practice of conservation biology: (1) empirical descriptions of both social and environmental conditions are equally necessary; (2) explicit methodological and analytical linking of these conditions is essential; and (3) peer review and assistance by researchers identified as being able to work across disciplines enhances the research outcomes. Challenges related specifically to the social norms guiding research practice and achieving integration in findings from within and across different paradigms. In terms of social norms, of particular concern is being able to offer the incentives that allow scientists to work effectively over time and through out their careers across disciplines and with those from other disciplines.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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