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BIOLOGICAL DATA INTERPRETATION AND USE: WHITE GOOSE BETWEEN «BLACK SWAN» AND «GREEN DUCK»  [2016]

Матвейчук, С.П.

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The use of scientific data by professionals and comprehension of the same by lay public are based on different approaches to their treatment. The present paper investigates the pathways and means for dissemination and transformation of new information generated in the course of studies of the explosive expansion of light geese populations in the North America at the turn of the XX and XXI centuries and of the attempts to control the expansion by means of spring hunt. The failure of the attempts has compromised some basic stereotypes prevalent among both, scientists and wildlife managers. Tracing the interpretations of data obtained by Quebec scientists in an isolated field study before and after spring hunt has been allowed reveals two contrasting interpretational models. In Europe and North America, the Quebec results are being avidly discussed in university and academic circles and among professional waterfowl managers. All relevant information spreads along the “researchers-to-managers-to-regulators” pathways and is open to public at all stages. In Russia, the results of wildlife research circulate within non-government organizations involved in preservation of nature and in amateurish public societies and spread along the pathways “preservationists-to-public-to-regulators” thus evading the scientific consideration. The interpretational model for unexpected data, which may be conventionally denoted as “Black Swan Model” is characteristic for internation
al peer-reviewed periodicals and features comprehensive comparing of the new evidence with earlier data and checking it for consistency with applicable theories, which, in their turn, are checked for the ability to incorporate newer data. The “Green Duck” model typical for Russian literature where non-academic mass media predominate involves separating selected fragments of new knowledge from their scientific context, mingling them with emotionally motivated judgments and disseminating the results via mass media to mold public opinions, which are used to exert pressure on administrative bodies. In the latter model, the treatment of information is transferred from the rational to the emotional sphere. The above differences between the two models are significant for environmental science, management and policy in Russia. It is suggested that data related to nature management have to be published in peer-reviewed literature prior to being used by governmental bodies for making decisions.

From the journal

Биосфера; Биосфера том 8 № 2 2016; 186-201

ISSN : 2077-1371