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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Conflicting demands and shifts between policy and intra-scientific orientation during conservation research programmes

Ranius, Thomas; Rudolphi, Jorgen; Stens, Anna; Marald, Erland


Conservation scientists must meet the sometimes conflicting demands of policy and science, but not necessarily at the same time. We analysed the policy and intra-scientific orientations of research projects on effects of stump extraction on biodiversity, and found shifts over time associated with these demands. Our results indicate that uncertainties related to both factual issues and human decisions are often ignored in policy-oriented reports and syntheses, which could give misleading indications of the reliability or feasibility of any conclusions. The policy versus intra-scientific orientation of the scientific papers generated from the surveyed projects varied substantially, although we argue that in applied research, societal relevance is generally more important than intra-scientific relevance. To make conservation science more socially relevant, there is a need for giving societal relevance higher priority, paying attention to uncertainties and increasing the awareness of the value of cross-disciplinary research considering human decisions and values.


Conservation biology; Forest biofuels; Policy-science interface; Synthesis; Uncertainties

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2017, Volume: 46, number: 6, pages: 621-629
Publisher: SPRINGER