Including Rural America in academic conservation science

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David J Kurz, Arthur D. Middleton, Melissa Chapman, Bruce R. Huber, Alex McInturff, Jeremy Sorgen, Kyle Schuyler Van Houtan, Christine Wilkinson, Lauren S. Withey, Justin S Brashares


Entrenched political partisanship in the United States has placed long-standing constraints on conservation policy and climate change legislation. These barriers persist, demanding fresh insights into the ways that conservation has become a victim of political polarization, and pathways for encouraging bipartisan support for climate change and other U.S. conservation policies. We suggest three opportunities to build bipartisan support for climate policies via partnerships between rural communities and conservation academics. Specifically, we suggest that conservation academics: (i) emphasize knowledge co-production and partnerships that resonate with rural lifestyles and values; (ii) recruit and train rural students in conservation science degree programs; and (iii) reshape academic advancement criteria to promote rural engagement. We suggest that investments in academic - rural collaboration hold potential to build knowledge, trust, and inclusive consensus on bipartisan climate policy action in the United States.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Law, Law, Life Sciences, Other Life Sciences


community stakeholders, conservation policy, knowledge-action boundary, political partisanship, public outreach, tenure criteria


Published: 2020-10-03 00:52

Last Updated: 2023-06-10 07:24

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