Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2008
Publication Date: December 1, 2008
Citation: Havstad, K.M. 2008. Essays of a peripheral mind: An opinion on policy. Rangelands. 30(6):42-44. Technical Abstract: Strengthening the connections between science and policy is critical if science is to have meaningful impacts. Policy is often primarily based on arrays of opinion and experience. Science typically shapes some of these opinions. This essay addresses characteristics of science and its communication that would entrance the link of science to policy concerning management of our nation’s rangelands. The science most effective in shaping these opinions is that which is effectively communicated, readily understood, transmitted by credible sources, and untethered to values or advocacies. Society expects science experts to help solve problems, and issues surrounding management of our nation’s rangeland resources are no exception. Yet, there is seldom a direct use of the scientific literature as published in journals. Strengthening the ties of science to natural resource management policy will require scientists to more effectively describe these scientific results and make those descriptions more readily accessible to the public and policy makers.