Decision support frameworks and tools for conservation

Schwartz, Mark W., Cook, Carly N., Pressey, Robert L., Pullin, Andrew S., Runge, Michael C., Salafsky, Nick, Sutherland, William J., and Williamson, Matthew A. (2018) Decision support frameworks and tools for conservation. Conservation Letters, 11 (2). e12385.

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Abstract

The practice of conservation occurs within complex socioecological systems fraught with challenges that require transparent, defensible, and often socially engaged project planning and management. Planning and decision support frameworks are designed to help conservation practitioners increase planning rigor, project accountability, stakeholder participation, transparency in decisions, and learning. We describe and contrast five common frameworks within the context of six fundamental questions (why, who, what, where, when, how) at each of three planning stages of adaptive management (project scoping, operational planning, learning). We demonstrate that decision support frameworks provide varied and extensive tools for conservation planning and management. However, using any framework in isolation risks diminishing potential benefits since no one framework covers the full spectrum of potential conservation planning and decision challenges. We describe two case studies that have effectively deployed tools from across conservation frameworks to improve conservation actions and outcomes. Attention to the critical questions for conservation project planning should allow practitioners to operate within any framework and adapt tools to suit their specific management context. We call on conservation researchers and practitioners to regularly use decision support tools as standard practice for framing both practice and research.

Item ID: 53435
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1755-263X
Keywords: adaptive management, planning, decision analysis, evidence based, futures research, structured decision making, systematic conservation planning, project management
Copyright Information: Copyright and Photocopying: ©2017 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Arcadia
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 12:07
Downloads: Total: 46
Last 12 Months: 31
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