Chapter 1: Introduction to A Research Agenda for Environmental Management – Through transdisciplinary, social science-rich environmental governance research
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In a world with persistent environmental problems at all scales, developing better tools to help us understand and solve these problems is critical. These problems are multidimensional with social and natural system components that often involve technologies. Full understandings therefore require interdisciplinary groups of social and natural scientists and, often, engineers. Environmental management problems can generally be seen as governance issues involving decisions about changes in individual and group actions – the arenas of various social science disciplines. Identifying and understanding possible solutions necessitates the involvement of other sectors, such as industry, governments and non-governmental organizations. Transdisciplinary research teamwork brings together interdisciplinary scientists with individuals with representatives of other sectors to better understand problems and solutions. However, this type of teamwork is challenging in part because of the inherently high diversity of team members. Understanding these challenges and strategies to overcome them is critical to transdisciplinary team success. A series of case studies of successful teamwork are presented to illustrate these strategies in practice.