An eye-opening approach to developing and communicating integrated environmental assessments

Paper first pageIAN staff Bill Dennison, Tim Carruthers, and Jane Hawkey worked with UMCES faculty Todd Lookingbill and Shawn Carter from the National Park Service to write this recently published paper (Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5(6): 307-314). The paper presents a practical framework for promoting successful ecosystem management by using diverse visual elements to facilitate communication between scientists, managers, and the public. The paper concludes that: 1) the process of developing and communicating integrated ecosystem assessments creates common ground between multiple stakeholders and is as important as the products themselves; 2) once generated, visual elements (photos, maps, graphs, conceptual diagrams) create a valuable resource that can be used in many formats; 3) visual elements are a widely understandable format for synthesized information; and 4) conceptual diagrams are a powerful tool that can be used to link key ecosystem features, major threats, and environmental indicators.