The impacts of climate change are already being observed and felt in our ecosystems and communities. Land and resource managers, planners, and decision-makers are looking for the best scientific information to guide their decisions about adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change now and in the future. A major goal of the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) and the CASC network as a whole is the development of “actionable science”, or scientific information that can be easily used by managers and planners to inform these important decisions. However, the current community of researchers and decision-makers are in need of guidance about the best ways to work together and the activities or strategies that are most effective in building trusting relationships that result in credible science that is applicable to resource management decisions.
Evaluating current and ongoing “actionable science” projects is one way to help develop this guidance and inform the structure of future projects. The project researchers have developed a framework for the evaluation of collaboratively (between researchers and decision-makers) produced climate science. They examine factors such as when resource managers become engaged in the research project, how and when researchers and resource managers communicate and collaborate, and the variety of ways findings from the research are actually used (or not) in decision-making at the end of the project.
This framework will be applied to a sample of 10-12 projects funded by the Northwest CASC to identify barriers to the production and use of actionable climate science as well as practices that are associated with its success. The team will then build on that project-level framework to explore the role of programs and organizations (like the Northwest CASC) in the development of actionable science.