Estimating counterfactuals for evaluation of ecological and conservation impact: an introduction to matching methods

Ribas, Luiz G.S., Pressey, Robert L., and Bini, Luis M. (2021) Estimating counterfactuals for evaluation of ecological and conservation impact: an introduction to matching methods. Biological Reviews, 96 (4). pp. 1186-1204.

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Abstract

Matching methods encompass non-parametric approaches to estimating counterfactual states through a rigorous selection of control units with similar characteristics to units submitted to an intervention. These methods enable comparisons between treated and control units in a way that facilitates understanding of causal relationships between interventions and outcomes. Matching methods have been used only recently in ecology and conservation biology, where such applications changed the way the field investigates causal questions, for example, in impact-evaluation studies. However, the strengths and limitations of matching methods are not well understood by most ecologists and environmental scientists. Herein, we review state-of-the-art matching methods aiming to help fill this gap in understanding. First, we present relevant theoretical concepts related to matching methods and related subjects such as counterfactual states and causation. Next, we propose guidelines and strategies for the application of matching methods in ecology and conservation biology. Finally, we discuss the possibilities for future applications of matching methods in the environmental sciences.

Item ID: 70253
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-185X
Keywords: counterfactual, impact evaluation, matching method, non-parametric method, quasi-experimental
Copyright Information: © 2021 Cambridge Philosophical Societ
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2022 21:54
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310303 Ecological physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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