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Our work in this area complements our biophysical science by focusing on the social, cultural and economic processes and information needed to improve policy performance.

This work is underpinned by data collection, including several major nationwide surveys.

Development of effective policy entails designing, undertaking and evaluating engagement processes and strategies; understanding preferences, values and governance processes for natural asset management; assessing information to underpin choices and decisions; designing policy instruments and their implementation; and tracking policy performance to enable adaptive management.

Our research spans urban, rural and conservation landscapes and catchments, the full-range of ecosystem services and natural resources, and a wide array of stakeholders – central and local government, industry, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community and Māori organisations. 

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