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Communicating Geomorphology

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Communication strategies emphasize concerns for content (what is said) and process (the way things are said). Scientists have a responsibility to communicate the findings of their research, enhancing prospects that their insights can meaningfully inform management practice. When used effectively, principles from geomorphology provide critical guidance for environmental management. Three key geomorphic messages are outlined here: Respect diversity through communicating spatial and temporal controls upon landscape character and behaviour; Work with nature in conveying the range of behaviour of any given system; and Be proactive by determining the trajectory of landscape change. Uptake of geomorphic understanding reflects, among many factors, our ability to communicate findings clearly. In communicating these messages, different approaches are likely to prove more effective when addressing differing audiences, whether school/university classes, stakeholders, managers, politicians, or the broader community. Collective approaches to learning through dialogue are encouraged as they promote deeper learning, prospectively enhancing the uptake of geomorphic understanding, thereby promoting healthier environmental futures.

Keywords: Geomorphology; adaptive management; communication; environmental management; fieldwork; place

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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