The Network of Knowledge approach: improving the science and society dialogue on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe

Carsten Nesshöver, Marie Vandewalle, Heidi Wittmer, Estelle V. Balian, Esther Carmen, Ilse R. Geijzendorffer, Christoph Görg, Rob Jongman, Barbara Livoreil, Luis Santamaria, Stefan Schindler, Josef Settele, Isabel Sousa Pinto, Katalin Török, Jiska Van Dijk, Allan D. Watt, Juliette C. Young, Klaus Peter Zulka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The absence of a good interface between scientific and other knowledge holders and decision-makers in the area of biodiversity and ecosystem services has been recognised for a long time. Despite recent advancements, e.g. with the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), challenges remain, particularly concerning the timely provision of consolidated views from different knowledge domains. To address this challenge, a strong and flexible networking approach is needed across knowledge domains and institutions. Here, we report on a broad consultation process across Europe to develop a Network of Knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services (NoK), an approach aiming at (1) organising institutions and knowledge holders in an adaptable and responsive framework and (2) informing decision-makers with timely and accurate biodiversity knowledge. The consultation provided a critical analysis of the needs that should be addressed by a NoK and how it could complement existing European initiatives and institutions at the interface between policy and science. Among other functions, the NoK provides consolidated scientific views on contested topics, identification of research gaps to support relevant policies, and horizon scanning activities to anticipate emerging issues. The NoK includes a capacity building component on interfacing activities and contains mechanisms to ensure its credibility, relevance and legitimacy. Such a network would need to ensure credibility, relevance and legitimacy of its work by maximizing transparency and flexibility of processes, quality of outputs, the link to data and knowledge provision, the motivation of experts for getting involved and sound communication and capacity building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1215-1233
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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