Social scientists working in the federal government have played many roles in the context of natural resources management. Our purpose is to highlight the nature of these applied positions, provide a rationale for social science, and assert the need to enhance social science capacity in federal natural resources management. Social scientists are required because effective environmental management demands a sophisticated understanding of humans, and social scientists have specific training and skills needed by the agencies to meet this need and environmental mandates. Agencies and bureaus rely on applied social scientists to help them understand and determine the environmental consequences of their decisions for citizens. We highlight the importance of having trained social scientists in management and leadership in federal resource management agencies because they are equipped to address the greatest challenges in this arena.

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