Problem Area 3

Active information exchange is essential to ensuring that science is used in management, and equally important in fostering relevant and useful science.

As the amount and availability of scientific information skyrockets, new challenges and opportunities arise for understanding forest threats and landscape change. The Center recognizes the need to share information, tools, and resources that partners, customers, and other users can readily use and apply to sustain natural resources, especially in the face of new, evolving, and interacting threats to forests.

Responding to emerging forest threats and sustaining natural resources across a changing landscape require active information exchange between and among customers, including resource managers and planners, policy-and decision-makers, management and extension specialists, researchers, and stakeholders. This critically important exchange of information is complicated by complex networks of individuals with widely varying roles, responsibilities, interests, and understanding of natural resource values and threats to sustainability. The Center is uniquely positioned to interconnect these networks, to create advanced tools and products that streamline information exchange, and to establish methods to develop tools and products that meet diverse, multi-dimensional customer needs.

Fundamental to successful information exchange is identifying the scientific information most relevant to policy- and decision-makers, understanding the role of management and extension specialists to facilitate this critical information exchange, and recognizing society values linked to natural resources. The Center works with customers to understand their priorities and needs, and to ensure that tools and products are designed and implemented in useful and meaningful ways. This understanding is gained through both direct and indirect methods—directly through consultations with representative customers, and indirectly through review of existing customer products. Both methods inform scalable solutions that include not only relevant information, but also mechanisms, techniques, and capacities to deploy successful products that meet customer priorities and needs.

Problem 3a. Opportunities to create and strengthen effective and efficient information exchange are enhanced by understanding and gauging stakeholder needs, and by using best practices for outreach, extension, and communication. The Center strives to increase effectiveness when developing and exchanging knowledge, and basic foundational research helps to enhance perspective and understanding of customer needs and desires.

Problem 3b.  Collaborative development and transfer of effective analytical tools and technology that support science-based decision-making are necessary to sustain long-term forest health and productivity. Early and active engagement with end-users maximizes the likelihood that decision-support tools and information will be adopted and effectively used.

Problem 3c. A wide spectrum of products, tools, and services are needed to engage diverse, multi-faceted audiences; to increase their understanding of forest threats; and to encourage long-term collaboration. The desired goal is an interactive, bidirectional exchange. Everyone at the Center has an important role to play in achieving such engagement, and that role occurs throughout the entire scientific process.

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