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Roads to Transdisciplinarity - Developing a Sustainable Management Approach

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dc.contributor.author Schiemer, Fritz
dc.date.accessioned 2016-10-26T07:53:50Z
dc.date.available 2016-10-26T07:53:50Z
dc.date.issued 2016-10-26T07:53:50Z
dc.identifier.citation Schiemer, F. (2015). Roads to Transdisciplinarity - Developing a Sustainable Management Approach. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies (IJMS), 2(2), 1-18.
dc.identifier.issn 23620797
dc.identifier.uri http://dr.lib.sjp.ac.lk/handle/123456789/3352
dc.description.abstract Exploring strategies for sustainable management requires an integrated, scientific and problemoriented approach involving a combination of environmental and socio-economic aspects in view of the manifold issues and often conflicting stakeholder interests which have to be addressed. It calls for more interdisciplinarity in science, translational research (see below) and transdisciplinarity in form of a science-practitioners dialogue and interaction. There are constraints to crossing interdisciplinary boundaries in science. By tradition, scientists are usually confined to specialized niches of knowledge and are not easily prepared to embark on interdisciplinary endeavors. Interdisciplinarity, even among natural sciences, requires new research approaches and new ways of thinking. The challenges become even more formidable when bridging natural and social sciences, e.g. when connecting abiotic framework conditions with environmental processes and social and socio-economic aspects. Translational research – oriented towards defining ways to communicate with practitioners and introducing research findings into political decisions – requires new and diverse formats of education, training and networking. I use examples of personal engagement in water issues over the last 30 years to outline the challenges of getting involved in applied research and science-policy interactions. The first two examples refer to a long-term engagement in resource-management in SE-Asian reservoirs and lakes. Following an early ecosystem-oriented study on the Parakrama Samudra reservoir in Sri Lanka (1979-1982), a multidisciplinary EU-program was launched. The international project, carried out by a consortium of Asian and European scientists, provided a large amount of factual information (Schiemer et al. 2008) and a wealth of experience regarding the challenges of formulating a system-oriented approach comprising environmental and socio-economic aspects and transferring the scientific knowledge into real-world politics. The second set of experience refers to the management of the riverine landscape of the Danube in Austria. Large rivers with their extensive wetlands and floodplains offer a wide variety of ecological services, e.g. flood retention, drinking water supply, fisheries and conservation. Other human uses are hydropower production and navigation. They represent partially conflicting stakeholder interests of different political power. Human impacts over the past 150 years through river regulation, damming and pollution have reduced some of the service capacities and call for rehabilitation measures. In 1983/84, I became engaged in a major public discussion over a projected hydropower dam. As a result of the critical position taken by scientists, we were invited by the government to take part in a commission of practitioners, planners and scientists to develop long-term management and restoration concepts. The panel was requested to find science-based compromises for conflicting stakeholder interests. This engagement forced scientists of various disciplines – ecologists, hydrologists and geo-morphologists – to develop a common understanding of the vulnerability of river-floodplain systems to human interventions. Over the past thirty years, scientists played a significant role in this discussion process, defining environmental targets and developing benchmarking and assessment criteria for management options. This involvement was also a school of learning regarding interaction with stakeholders and decision makers. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Aquatic resource management en_US
dc.subject eco-hydrology en_US
dc.subject eco-sociology en_US
dc.subject translational science en_US
dc.subject stakeholder controversies en_US
dc.subject co-management en_US
dc.subject fisheries en_US
dc.subject trophic state en_US
dc.subject river restoration en_US
dc.title Roads to Transdisciplinarity - Developing a Sustainable Management Approach en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.date.published 2015

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