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March 30, 2024 38 mins

Conservation and sustainability scientists are often expected to advise policymakers and other decision-makers. But some of the issues that they are expected to advise on, have broader consensus than others. So, when is it appropriate to advise? When is it appropriate to advocate? When should they simply present all the options or interpretations, and leave it to the decision-makers?

Françoise Cardou is a plant and a community ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at Carlton University in Ottawa, interested in understanding how people and nature affect each other in socio-ecological systems. In a recent paper in Biological Conservation, she and her colleague Mark Vellend discuss how important it is for conservation scientists to know which role is appropriate, to avoid being so-called “stealth advocates”.

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