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Alaska's Changing Boreal Forest$
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F. Stuart Chapin, Mark W. Oswood, Keith Van Cleve, Leslie A. Viereck, and David L. Verbyla

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195154313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195154313.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2021

Communication of Alaskan Boreal Science with Broader Communities

Communication of Alaskan Boreal Science with Broader Communities

(p.323) 20 Communication of Alaskan Boreal Science with Broader Communities
Alaska's Changing Boreal Forest

Elena B. Sparrow

Janice C. Dawe

Oxford University Press

An important responsibility of all researchers is to communicate effectively with the rest of the scientific community, students, and the general public. Communication is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior” (Merriam-Webster 1988). It is a two-way process that requires collaborations, best-information exchange practices, and effective formal and informal education. Communication of this knowledge and understanding about the boreal forest is important because it benefits scientists, policymakers, program managers, teachers, students, and other community members. Good data and a firm knowledge base are needed for improving understanding of the functioning of the boreal forest, implementing best-management practices regarding forests and other resources, making personal and communal decisions regarding livelihoods and quality of life, coping with changes in the environment, and preparing future cadres of science-informed decision makers. Communication among scientists is an essential step in the research process because it informs researchers about important ideas and observations elsewhere in the world and allows boreal researchers to contribute to general scientific understanding. For example, the Bonanza Creek LTER has developed its research program by incorporating many important concepts developed elsewhere, including ecosystem dynamics (Tansley 1935), succession (Clements 1916), state factors (Jenny 1941), predator interactions (Elton 1958), and landscape dynamics (Turner et al. 2001). Through active research and regular communication and collaboration with the international scientific community, these “imported” ideas have been adapted to the boreal forest and new ideas and insights have been developed or communicated to the scientific community, as described in detail throughout this book. New ideas have originated among boreal researchers, and their “export” has sparked research elsewhere in the world (Chapter 21). The pathways of communication are changing. Alaskan boreal researchers have participated actively in traditional modes of communication, including hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, several books, reports intended for managers, and participation in meetings and workshops. However, some of the greatest benefits of longterm research reside in the records of changes that occur. These long-term data are now available to the rest of the world through internet Web sites that house databases, publications, photographs, and other information (http://www.lter.uaf.edu).

Keywords:   anthropogenic changes, boreal forest, epistemologies, informed feedback, life-long learning community, schoolyard LTER, western science

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