Using knowledge in a complex decision-making process – Evidence and principles from the Danish Houting project's ecosystem-based management approach

Last modified: 
August 30, 2016 - 9:50am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 03/2015
Authors: Diana Giebels, Arwin van Buuren, Jurian Edelenbos
Journal title: Environmental Science & Policy
Volume: 47
Pages: 53 - 67
ISSN: 14629011

In ecosystem-based management (EBM), the use of knowledge is considered an important means to reach sound decisions. However, EBM approaches typically entail complex decision-making processes, involving multiple actors and policy levels. Hence, it is questionable whether and how knowledge can be used as a means to reach sound decisions. This paper explores and evaluates the knowledge governance employed by decision-makers to successfully implement EBM in a complex setting. Conclusions are drawn from a case study based on 30 qualitative interviews, document analysis, and observational participation in Denmark's second largest river restoration project, the Houting project. Our findings suggest that disjointed knowledge governance, knowledge bases acknowledging different values and interests, and the use of experiments were crucial to the success, but at the same time partly restricted the quality, of decision-making in the project. Several suggestions are made on how to compensate for the shortcomings identified.

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