Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The strength of combining different knowledge sources

This post has been provided by Dr Chris Wernham from BTO and members of the Project's Research Group to promote an understanding about how the different sources of knowledge will be combined in the project.  Please let me know what you think about the project's methods and the pros and cons of collecting and comparing the different information sources.

The Understanding Predation project is responding to common concerns shared by a wide range of organisations in Scotland about broad-scale declines in a number of wild bird species, and in particular a suite of ground-nesting birds (including breeding waders and wild gamebirds). 

There is widespread interest in understanding the geographical patterns of change, and the impact of predator-prey interactions on these declining species, alongside, and in combination with, other factors that may influence the observed population changes. 

The project also aims to review a range of management options that could assist in mitigating these declines, to ensure that healthy populations of both prey and predators can be sustained. It will consider existing evidence for the success or otherwise of a range of suggested management options.

Relevant knowledge of all of these topics is held not just within published scientific research but also within the community of stakeholders that spend time in our countryside and have experience of managing land across Scotland (termed ‘local ecological knowledge’). The Project will use systematic and critical methods to collect and review both traditional scientific evidence and local ecological knowledge in consistent and comparable ways. The methods that we will use to do the work will ensure that:
  • the different types of knowledge are treated equitably;
  • the evidence behind any conclusions reached is robust and clearly explained; and
  • the different types of knowledge can be integrated to provide an evidence base and shared understanding of the commonalities, differences and reasons for any differences in conclusions.
You can find further information on how the project will do this, and the topics that will be covered, in the presentation that the BTO has prepared to provide an introduction to the Project.

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