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Copyright © 2002 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.

The following is the established format for referencing this article:
Tyson, W. 2002. Producers and consumers of research. Conservation Ecology 6(2): r3. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol6/iss2/resp3/

Response to Mario Gutman 2000. "Our paper on "Biomass partitioning following defoliation of annual and perennial Mediterranean grasses""

Producers and Consumers of Research

Wayne Tyson


Published: August 12, 2002

Consumers who are not researchers in the formal sense may also profit from research. Indeed, this forms a major part of the implied purpose of agronomic trials (as distinguished from research that attempts to illuminate principles, rather than alter practice). However, errors may accumulate when confusion arises from ignorance or "knowledge" gleaned imperfectly from papers or other means of communication that emphasize finality of conclusions and other prevalent, if regrettable, expressions of perfect authority.

Sometimes, critics are simply wrong. Other times, they serve a useful purpose by adding dimensions to a subject that may stimulate a clarifying response and build upon points made in the critique. If critics would avoid needlessly inflammatory statements and if the subjects of criticism, refraining from merely defensive statements, would address all the critical points on their merits rather than dismiss them, the search for more refined knowledge would be best served.

I hope that Gutman et al. (2001) will address the points made by Jones (2002) on their merits and that Jones will respond in similar detail. I hope that both will include some discussion of the relevant principles, mechanisms, and processes of physiological responses, soil structure, soil microbiology, mineral nutrition, and the influences of environmental variations so that consumers (non-researchers, in particular) may interpret and synthesize new knowledge into better practice. Despite the admonition in Gutman and Seligman (2002) that consumers should strive not to misinterpret and misapply results, the possibility remains that those less familiar with researchers' assumptions will err.


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Gutman, M., I. Noy-Meir, D. Pluda, N. A. Seligman, S. Rothman, and M. Sternberg. 2001. Biomass partitioning following defoliation of annual and perennial Mediterranean grasses. Conservation Ecology 5(2): 1. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol5/iss2/art1

Gutman, M., and N. G. Seligman. 2002. Our paper on "Biomass partitioning following defoliation of annual and perennial Mediterranean grasses." Conservation Ecology 6(1): r5. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol6/iss1/resp5

Jones, G. 2002. Questionable methods. Conservation Ecology 6(1): r4. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol6/iss1/resp4.

Address of Correspondent:
Wayne Tyson
Box 34069
San Diego CA 92163-4069 USA
Phone: 619-280-2553
Fax: none

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