Nicole Klenk – Feature Profile

We introduce you to:

Dr. Nicole Klenk, Departments of Physical and Environmental Sciences and Political Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)

How did you become interested in environmental sociology?

Environmental sociology provides me with useful theoretical frameworks and methodological tools to pursue the research questions: ‘how is environmental knowledge produced’, ‘by whom’, ‘for what purpose’ and ‘to what effect’?

What are your research interests?

Having spent time producing ecological knowledge (i.e. forest ecosystem research, biodiversity conservation), I became intrigued by the legitimacy and power that environmental knowledge producers (seem to) have in environmental and natural resource policy-making. A common thread across my research outputs has been an exploration of the responsibility entailed by such legitimacy and power.  My doctoral research examined the fact/value dichotomy in forest science and management and its implications for the governance of science and forest policy.  In my first post-doctoral fellowship I examined the changing governance of science in forestry and its manifestations in the Sustainable Forest Management Network, a former Network Centre of Excellence. More recently, I have become interested in the politics of knowledge production and its implications for environmental policy and governance.

What research are you currently working on?

Two main ideas currently structure my research program: 1) pluralism and its implications for environmental knowledge production, and 2) adaptive capacity and its institutional embodiment in environmental governance arrangements.

What are some of your more interesting findings that you would like to share with us?

An emerging insight from my research is that conflict and politics appear to be beneficial in the production of knowledge and in environmental governance.

What would you like to pursue with your research in the future?

I will continue to examine the fascinating intricacies of the environmental and natural resource science-policy interface and its articulation of facts, values, knowledge claims, legitimacy and change.

What is your favourite place in Canada to spend time?

Some of my most memorable adventures were in Newfoundland and now that I live on the East Coast, I am quite keen to return to the island to search for rare orchids, whales, icebergs and once again look out onto the spectacular Western Brook Pond from the top of Gross Morne.

Is there a particular Canadian situation that concerns you as a social scientist or impacts your research with respect to the social-environment relationship?

The evolving governance of forests in Canada is of particular importance to me as a social scientist. The future of forests, their composition, their meaning, and their use are at the core of my research.

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