Cooperative Extension: A Model of Science-Practice Integration for Ecosystem Restoration

Erica David, Kingsley W. Dixon, M.H.M. Menz

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Restoration ecology is a science, driven by practical application. Despite the well-recognized disconnect between the science and practice of ecological restoration, there is a lack of practical solutions. In 2014, US agriculture marked the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Extension Service, providing a timely reminder that the divide between science and practice can be bridged successfully. Major restoration efforts are underway across the globe and integrated science-practice communication is required to avoid project failure and a significant waste of resources. Here, we propose a three-tiered approach, re-emphasizing the integration of science-based practice in restoration utilizing the structure, function, and potential for success of the Cooperative Extension Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a model for connecting science and practice in ecosystem restoration. The gap between science and practice is a long-recognized concern in restoration ecology, but there is a lack of practical solutions. Without successful communication, significant resources will be wasted on potentially misguided global restoration efforts. The Cooperative Extension Service successfully bridged the science-practice gap in American agriculture. Here, we discuss how such a framework could be applied to bridge the science-practice gap in restoration ecology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)410-417
    Number of pages8
    JournalTrends in Plant Science
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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