Forest landscape ecology is maturing as a discipline and its knowledge base is rapidly expanding. A necessary next step is to ensure appropriate application of this accumulating knowledge in forest management. For this to occur, it is imperative that landscape ecologists become familiar with knowledge transfer, which is a process in which developers interact with users, and make them aware of the available knowledge and its appropriate use. As well, developers learn user needs, which promote discovery and iterative improvement of applications.
Knowledge transfer can occur in many different ways; no one standard method is universally suitable. Approaches effective for introducing new landscape ecological concepts may not work as well for encouraging the adoption of new technology. Regardless of the approach, it is evident that developers have an active and leading role in the process. Fulfilling this role requires an understanding of basic knowledge transfer concepts, principles, and practices and the willingness to engage with users.
Although successful transfer is an essential prerequisite, it alone cannot ensure that landscape ecological concepts are appropriately applied for a myriad of practical reasons. Still, the opportunity awaiting researchers to convey their findings to users for application is vast and timely. By considering knowledge transfer as an integral part of their activities, forest landscape ecologists have the opportunity to move their field of study from the abstract to an applied discipline.
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