Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4289
Title: How good science and stories can go hand-in-hand
Author: Heather A. Leslie, Erica Goldman, K. L. McLeod, Leila Sievanen, Hari Balasubramanian, Amanda Feuerstein, Nancy Knowlton, Kai Lee, Richard Pollnac, J. F. Samhouri
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: Conservation Biology
Volume: 27
Issue: 5
Pages: 1126-1129
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12080
Keywords: conservation effectiveness, evaluation, marine conservation, assessment, Cabo Pulmo,conservation effectiveness

We focus on the complementary roles stories can play, together with science, in advancing conservation science and practice.  We assert that conservation interventions that recognize the synergies between science and storytelling may achieve more substantial biological and social outcomes than those that rely on only one or the other.  In our work as conservation scientists, we have observed at least 3 types of synergy between stories and science:  stories convey the significance of our science (communication), stories can serve as data (scholarship), and finally, stories illustrate how scientific knowledge can illuminate policy choices (translation).  We illustrate these synergies with a story from Cabo Pulmo, a national park in Mexico’s Baja California Sur.  Unsubstantiated conservation stories are a danger and could damage the credibility of conservation science or distract policy makers from the magnitude of conservation challenges, but we believe conservation science and practice would be enriched by more efforts to thoughtfully connect science and stories.

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Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Describe the relationship among human activities and species stock status, recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.