Skip to main content

Prioritizing science efforts to inform decision making on public lands

Year of Publication
Publication Type

Public land management agencies in the US are committed to using science-informed decision making, but there has been little research on the types and topics of science that managers need most to inform their decisions. We used the National Environmental Policy Act to identify four types of science information needed for making decisions relevant to public lands: (1) data on resources of concern, (2) scientific studies relevant to potential effects of proposed actions, (3) methods for quantifying potential effects of proposed actions, and (4) effective mitigation measures. We then used this framework to analyze 70 Environmental Assessments completed by the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado. Commonly proposed actions were oil and gas development, livestock grazing, land transactions, and recreation. Commonly analyzed resources included terrestrial wildlife, protected birds, vegetation, and soils. Focusing research efforts on the intersection of these resources and actions, and on developing and evaluating the effectiveness of mitigation measures to protect these resources, could strengthen the science foundation for public lands decision making.

S.K. Carter; T.S. Haby; J.K. Meineke; A.C. Foster; L.E. McCall; L.D. Espy; M.A. Gilbert; J.E. Herrick; K.L. Prentice

Carter SK, Haby TS, Meineke JK, Foster AC, McCall LE, Espy LD, Gilbert MA, Herrick JE, Prentice KL. Prioritizing science efforts to inform decision making on public lands. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment [Internet]. 2023 . Available from:

Publication Keywords