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Knowledge gathering and communication on biodiversity: Developing the Norwegian Nature Index

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Abstract:

The authors reflect on knowledge-generating and communication processes involved in the recently developed Norwegian Nature Index, particularly the communication process among experts involved in providing the required biodiversity knowledge. Eliciting a comprehensive overview of biodiversity is a complex process involving choices of approaches and methods in order to reach a common understanding of uncertainties and values as a basis for quantification. Part of the complexity is the establishment of dialogue between experts from research institutions with different research traditions and approaches. The authors discuss how the index was developed through communication processes, challenging involved experts to provide not only biodiversity data for the current situation, but also forecasts of future trends, assessments of uncertainty, and evaluations of the urgency of biodiversity loss and possibility of implementing policy and management measures. The Nature Index framework has potential for informing the biodiversity policy debate by involving stakeholders beyond the science-policy community and enhancing deliberations about biodiversity policy in a wider context of sustainable development. As a policy tool, the Nature Index may develop through a process of practical application, which in turn may have an impact on the selection of narratives, definition of management targets, and technical concepts such as reference states.

Keywords: Nature Index; biodiversity; expert evaluation; indicator; precaution; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291951.2012.744092

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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