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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #358533

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Viewpoint: Global citizen science for people.

item Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff
item COX, DORN - Farmer
item LUNDGREN, BRITT - Non ARS Employee
item NINDI, STEPHEN - Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2018
Publication Date: 11/1/2018
Citation: Herrick, J.E., Cox, D., Lundgren, B., Nindi, S. 2018. Viewpoint: Global citizen science for people. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 491.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Scientists who have recognized the potential power of millions of cell phone owners have focused primarily on data collection, with the goal of expanding the spatial and temporal scope of traditional science. We argue that this perspective is myopic at best. Benefits of engaging citizens in the entire scientific process, including interpretation, include more informed land use and management decisions, and a greater understanding of the value of evidence-based decision-making. Citizen science apps could also foster a sense of global community, interdependence and trust in science as awareness grows of the value of data, information and knowledge contributed by citizens in other countries. Being part of a global community can also empower individuals and organizations to challenge assumptions about perceived tradeoffs between consumption and production as farmers and ranchers begin to collect and optionally share more data about their sustainable production systems. This should also accelerate innovation through the exchange of ideas, information and inspiration. We challenge the ecological community to work with us to support farmers, ranchers, land use planners and other natural resource managers with open-source, value-neutral tools that allow them to easily collect, share and interpret their own data, and to apply these interpretations to manage their lands to be both more productive and more sustainable. We believe that citizen science should go far beyond citizens contributing to science to inspiring and enabling people to engage in the scientific process to interpret their environment, make better decisions, innovate, and connect with other people around the world.