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How knowledge is used in collaborative environmental governance: water classification in New Brunswick, Canada

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Collaboration is an increasingly important approach to dealing with complex environmental challenges. Participation of diverse actors in collaborative processes necessitates attention to the use of different forms of knowledge. We use a multi-case study of governance for water in New Brunswick, Canada, to explore knowledge-related concerns that are prominent in collaborative processes. As is common in other contexts, local or lay (experiential) forms of knowledge appeared to play complementary but ultimately subordinate roles to expert technical and scientific knowledge in the cases. Importantly, we found that the distinction between ‘expert’ and ‘local’ knowledge was not at all clear for the many participants. This study reinforces the importance of designing reflexive and flexible processes for encouraging the active engagement and use of knowledge in collaboration.
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Keywords: New Brunswick, Canada; collaborative environmental governance; expert knowledge; knowledge use; lay knowledge; local knowledge; watershed management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Water Policy and Governance Group, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, Canada

Publication date: March 4, 2015

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