Communicating Forest Science
TF Communicating Forest Science
Daniela Kleinschmit, Germany
Max Krott, Germany
Cynthia Miner, United States
IUFRO Communications Strategy
The Task Force has developed strategic guidelines for IUFRO communications to increase awareness and knowledge about IUFRO in the scientific world and increase public awareness about IUFRO and forest science. Comments can be sent to clminer(at)fs.fed.us.
Online Communication Survey
Communicating research results is rapidly rising on the science priority list. This is why the IUFRO Task Force for Communicating Forest Science is carrying out a survey with the aim to discover and compare the communication and collaboration behaviour and activities of scientists working in forest research worldwide.
The survey has been distributed to scientists throughout the world and the responses are now being analyzed. Results are forthcoming.
Objectives of the Task Force
Our objectives for the next five years are:
- Getting knowledge about forest scientists and their communication behaviour
- Deriving opportunities and restrictions of communication from the inquiry
- Talking science with the help of IUFRO multipliers
- Sticking together: Forest Scientists and their target groups
- Publishing results and practical experiences
The objectives are strongly connected to each other and need to be developed in sequence.
Getting knowledge about forest scientists and their communication behaviour
Talking to the public is becoming more and more important for forest scientists. They need to gain influence in the policy process as well as to legitimate their research by the acceptance and confidence of the public. Apart from a few "media stars"
Deriving opportunities and restrictions of communication from the inquiry
In addition to personal skills and attitudes, communication behaviour depends on the specific conditions. Cultural, ethical, geographical and most of all political framework are crucial for communicating science. After data interpretation of the above-mentioned survey, a second detailed online survey is planned for early 2006. The results will be presented to IUFRO working groups dealing with subjects influencing communication, e.g. 6.03.00 Information services and knowledge organization and 6.06.00 Management of forest research. The results from both surveys and the discussion with working groups will help identify the obstacles of communicating science as well as improvement opportunities in this field considering the framework in different parts of the world.
Talking science with the help of IUFRO multipliers
Knowing about communication behaviour, opportunities and barriers are first steps in efficiently communicating forest science. The next step is to use this knowledge to improve communication skills, motivation and possibilities. The IUFRO as an international research organisation can and should help to add voice to forest scientists worldwide. In a seminar, the results of the surveys and improvement opportunities are presented and discussed with the IUFRO Board, IUFRO working group leaders and their deputies.
Sticking together: Forest Scientists and their target groups
The theoretical and empirical analysis, its results and imparting the knowledge should culminate in a practical application in an international congress. This congress brings together stakeholder from forest science, media, politics and public representatives (e.g. civil society leaders, NGOs, etc). Three objectives can be achieved through this congress. First, it affords an opportunity to apply the new information about science communication. Second, it is an instance to exchange information about expectations of the different stakeholders concerning the communication interface of science-policy-media-public. Last but not least, the international conference provides the opportunity to put IUFRO on the global media and policy perception.
This kind of congress aims at gaining international public perception. For a successful preparation and realisation, it needs support from the IUFRO Board and the IUFRO secretary. A close collaboration is necessary to act for the purpose of the IUFRO communication strategy. Depending on the ongoing of the IUFRO Task Force Science Policy Interface, a partnership in this objective is very useful.