As Unesco prepares its Medium-Term Plan (1984–1990) in consultation with the Member States, it is clear that the emphasis during the second half of this decade will increasingly be on the application of research results to specific resource problems. In the environmental sciences this will mean a focusing on management policy and an effort to transform raw scientific data into information useful to the planner or government authority. The Man and the Biosphere Anniversary Conference held last October devoted one full day to the problem of how to collect and use ecological information as a basis for decisions about land mangement. The article below is derived from Martin Holdgate’s contribution to the MAB workshop and analyses the problem from a policy-maker’s point of view.