Carnivore Conservation Evidence: Framework and Connections

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2013-04-26

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Abstract

A revolutionary change is underway in the field of conservation. Over the last decade, conservation leaders have begun calling for the application of evidence-based practice to the decisions being made in environmental management and conservation (Sutherland, Pullin et al. 2004). They have also taken on the challenge of developing facilitative frameworks, modeled after those used in evidence-based medicine, to bolster decision-making and bridge the divide between science and practice (Pullin and Knight 2003).
The Conservation Evidence Project, based out of the University of Cambridge, is one of the key components in this new evidence-based framework. This project begins by summarizing all available evidence on the effectiveness of conservation interventions, from peer-reviewed journals articles and books to grey literature and conference proceedings. All summaries are written as objective, independent assessments, providing scientific information in a useable format. The summaries are then compiled into synopses, which are made widely accessible through an online, open-access database, a freely downloadable PDF, and a printed handbook. These synopses aim to provide a point of reference to inform decision-making (www.conservationevidence.com).
The Conservation Evidence Project’s goal to make conservation more evidence-based is a very real and current need in environmental practice (Sutherland, Pullin et al. 2004). As management planning and policy are key elements in conservation, it is vital for individuals involved in these processes to be able to evaluate all of the relevant evidence. However, even when the science exists, there are many obstacles that may hamper individuals from applying it, including: time constraints, lack of training, or inaccessibility due to subscription requirements and library access (Dicks 2010). Without access to information on the results of conservation approaches, decisions in management and policy are left to rely on anecdotes, common sense, or conventional ‘wisdom’ in the place of science (Sutherland 2003). The two main objectives of my Master’s Project are directly tied to this growing movement in evidence-based conservation. My first objective is to build a coherent and approachable framework for the Carnivore Conservation Evidence Synopsis, following the established Conservation Evidence guidelines. Faced with the difficulties of accessing grey literature and unpublished reports, as well as the desire to make this synopsis as inclusive as possible, my second objective is to identify and execute ways to increase access and evidence exchange within the Conservation Evidence context.

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Lockhart, Sarah (2013). Carnivore Conservation Evidence: Framework and Connections. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6923.


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