The mountain pine beetle, climate change, and scientists : understanding science's responses to rapid ecological change in Western Canada




Lettrari, Heike

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Today, climate change and rapid ecological change are impacting our ecosystems and landscapes in numerous, often surprising ways. These changes result in social, cultural, ecological, and economic shifts, as exemplified in the climate-exacerbated mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreak in British Columbia. Recently, scientific communities have boosted calls for “usable science.” By interviewing leading MPB scientists, I ask, “How are scientists and their institutions responding to rapid ecological change?” Numerous factors shape MPB science—institutional support, funding, and values—and these factors enable and constrain effective relationships and ultimately, useful science, in response to the outbreak. Results suggest that while science and scientific institutions change slowly, and while relationships between MPB science and policy are characterized as tenuous, there are signs that crossing institutional boundaries (such as the TRIA Network) contributes to producing science that is more effective for responding to rapid ecological change.



science studies, science and policy, climate change adaptation, mountain pine beetle