Actionable science is a key component of SESYNC’s mission, as we support scholarship that has the potential to inform environmental decisions at a government, business, nonprofit, and individual level. We are always interested in learning more about others that practice this type of scholarship, and last week we welcomed another proponent of actionable science, Dr. Michael Douglas of Charles Darwin University, as our seminar speaker.
Dr. Douglas leads an interdisciplinary team at the TRaCK (Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge) research consortium in the tropical north of Australia. Over 80 scientists from social, cultural, environmental, and economic fields work together to provide the scholarship that governments, communities, and industries can use to evaluate the sustainable use of northern Australia’s tropical rivers and estuaries. TRaCK’s research spans 27 projects that examine the biophysical and cultural values of tropical rivers and inform debates about trade-offs among them. These efforts provide information important for government agencies focused on water planning. The applications of this research are also relevant to other environmental issues such as irrigated agriculture, mining, coastal development, and sea-level rise. In his talk, Dr. Douglas emphasized the importance of transdisciplinary collaboration that involves resource managers in the process of identifying research questions related to environmental problems.