Relevance of social science to the management of natural resources in British Columbia
Ecosystem-based natural resource management involves the integration of biophysical and human dimensions. Both the social sciences and biophysical sciences contribute to our understanding of the process of balancing social, economic, and biological factors. While the role of the biophysical sciences is relatively well recognized in the natural resource management sector, the contributions of the social sciences are less well understood and they are less frequently incorporated into management plans and activities. In this paper, we summarize several distinct contributions of the social sciences to natural resource management in British Columbia, Canada, and describe 10 ways that decision makers use social sciences. We predict the role of social sciences in natural resource management will become more important and we suggest that more collaborative research projects between social science researchers and natural resource managers will emerge. We also suggest that more cross-fertilization within the diverse streams of social sciences - as well as between the social sciences and biophysical sciences - will be essential in order to address complex research questions related to natural resource management.