Poor alignment of priorities between scientists and policymakers highlights the need for evidence-informed conservation in Brazil

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Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, ISSN: 2530-0644, Vol: 16, Issue: 3, Page: 125-132

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Manoela Karam-Gemael; Rafael Loyola; Jerry Penha; Thiago Izzo
Elsevier BV
Environmental Science
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article description
There is a worldwide claim by environmentalists and scientists that environmental policy usually lacks support based on scientific evidence. In this work we studied the gap between science and conservation actions in Brazil. We mapped scientific literature on conservation and conducted online surveys with science experts on biodiversity and policymakers working on a federal sphere. Our results show that environmental issues considered as priority for policymakers did not relate to those suggested by scientists and the peer-reviewed literature. According to policymakers, the main barriers to access scientific literature were time available to read papers, difficulty in understanding technical language and reading in English. Our results confirm that, in general, scientific knowledge is not being sufficiently applied to support policies in Brazil. Both scientists and policymakers are responsible for improving communication between their institutions: researchers need to know in advance what are professional policymakers’ needs and direct their research towards answering policy-related questions; and policymakers need that scientific evidences be available in accessible language and up to date. We recommend the development of science communication departments at all governmental levels and the establishment of evidence-based research groups and tools. Our findings help to explain the mismatch between science and policy in Brazil and represent a warning to everyone engaged in biodiversity conservation worldwide.