Identifying Opportunities and Challenges of Hybrid Knowledge Production in GIS for Protecting and Enhancing Woodland Habitat Patches: A Case Study for Glasgow City Region
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To manage the complexity of environmental problems, it is important to consider different types and sources of knowledge. Recognising the role of stakeholders in spatial decision-making can allow ‘soft’ qualitative knowledge to complement ‘hard’ quantitative knowledge to inform more innovative solutions. In response to landscape fragmentation, this project evaluates the opportunities and limitations of an integrated approach to woodland habitat assessment in Glasgow City Region. Using the outputs of a participatory stakeholder-mapping workshop, an iterative feedback loop was created for model validation and alteration. Comparative analysis indicates integrating different types of knowledge is complex but important for applying GIS to conservation decision-making. The results show early stakeholder engagement is beneficial for (1) validating the GIS model to produce improved outputs that better reflect the current landscape conditions; (2) creating an adaptable process for redefining the decision problem and; (3) exploring and visualising different ways to present results for enhanced uptake amongst decision makers and end-users. As habitats become small and isolated due to urbanisation, integrated GIS methods can help prioritise ecological restoration in accordance with robust ecological principles adapted to the changing local environment.