Stakeholders often play a key role in research activities by contributing existing data to a research process or by actively participating in the collection of new data. Some stakeholders, particularly from governmental agencies, may have access to data that is otherwise unavailable due to privacy restrictions or confidentiality agreements. This data can often be provided to researchers if it is aggregated to protect privacy concerns or if permission is granted from private citizens. In addition, some stakeholders are aware of data sources that are more specific to an ecosystem or locale such as climatic data and biological surveys.
Stakeholders can also engage in ecological sampling and monitoring. This can be a particularly effective entry point to a community that is ready to 'act' on a perceived problem and is not satisfied with more meetings and discussions of a problem. Monitoring by citizen stakeholders, in particular, provides other benefits to the research process. In many cases, they live close to monitoring sites or have access to private property such that more frequent and/or more complete monitoring can take place at significantly less cost than one individual researcher could complete independently. Citizens also gain benefits by becoming more familiar with their ecosystem, an educational opportunity that may be shared with other community members.
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