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Transforming conservation science and practice for a postnormal world

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  • Matthew J. Colloff
  • Sandra Lavorel
  • Lorrae E. van Kerkhoff
  • Carina A. Wyborn
  • Ioan Fazey
  • Russell Gorddard
  • Georgina M. Mace
  • Wendy B. Foden
  • Michael Dunlop
  • I. Colin Prentice
  • John Crowley
  • Paul Leadley
  • Patrick Degeorges


Publication details

JournalConservation Biology
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Feb 2017
DatePublished (current) - 6 Sep 2017
Issue number5
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)1008-1017
Original languageEnglish


In this essay we highlight issues to consider when reframing conservation objectives and outcomes in the context of global change. We discuss (1) new framings of the links between ecosystems and society; (2) new relationships and roles for conservation science; (3) new models of how conservation links to society and social change and (4) new approaches for implementing adaptation for conservation outcomes. We argue that reframing conservation objectives requires conservation scientists and practitioners to implement approaches that are no longer constrained by discipline and sectoral boundaries, geopolitical polarities, or technical problematisation. We consider that a stronger focus on learning and inclusive co-creation of knowledge, and its interaction with societal values and rules, is likely to result in conservation science and practice that will be able to meet the challenges of a post-normal world.

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology.

    Research areas

  • Adaptation pathways, adaptation services, adaptive governance, coproduction, global change, learning, transformation, values-rules-knowledge

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