Scientists and their professional societies are seeking to increase their influence in shaping policy decisions. A recent call for natural resource professional societies to endorse position statements on economic growth raises questions about how scientific societies can and should effectively contribute to policy development. Taking a stand on policy issues is akin to serving as a policy advocate. We believe that natural resource professionals can most constructively contribute to policy development by conducting rigorous research that is policy relevant and by effectively conveying the results and policy implications of that research to all parties interested in the issue. By actively engaging decisionmakers and providing information on pressing policy issues, professional societies can increase opportunities to be recognized as sources for reliable, unbiased information about natural resources and their management.
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