From displacement activities to evidence-informed decisions in conservation

Pressey, Robert L., Weeks, Rebecca, and Gurney, Georgina G. (2017) From displacement activities to evidence-informed decisions in conservation. Biological Conservation, 212 (Part A). pp. 337-348.

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Abstract

This paper highlights a disjunction between the basic motivation of conservation planners, policy-makers, and managers, which is to make a positive difference for biodiversity, and many of our day-to-day activities, which are tangential (at best) to the goal of avoiding biodiversity loss. At the core of this problem is the use of conservation measures (inputs, outputs, and outcomes) that do not explicitly address conservation impact, and thus risk undermining its achievement. These measures are used to formulate policy targets and operational objectives, gauge progress towards them, and identify priorities for action. In particular, the pervasive use of representation of biodiversity features as a sole basis for identifying priorities, and the considerable global effort directed towards increasing protected-area extent and assessing protected-area management effectiveness, exemplify that much conservation decision-making is founded more on belief systems than evidence. Measures such as the extent or representativeness of protected areas risk misdirecting conservation actions towards areas of low impact and misleading decision-makers and the public about conservation progress. To promote more effective, evidence-informed decision-making, analytical evidence can and should be used to test and refine decision-makers' implicit models of the world, focusing on predicting conservation impact - the future difference made by our future actions - to increase our effectiveness and accountability.

Item ID: 50476
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: conservation science, evidence-based conservation, conservation planning, conservation policy, protected-area management
Additional Information:

© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY-NC-ND/4.0/)

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE140100020
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 09:26
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960699 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation not elsewhere classified @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960609 Sustainability Indicators @ 20%
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