The effect of scientific evidence on conservation practitioners' management decisions

Walsh, Jessica C., Dicks, Lynn V. and Sutherland, William J. (2015) The effect of scientific evidence on conservation practitioners' management decisions. Conservation Biology, 29 (1). pp. 88-98. ISSN 0888-8892

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Abstract

A major justification of environmental management research is that it helps practitioners, yet previous studies show it is rarely used to inform their decisions. We tested whether conservation practitioners focusing on bird management were willing to use a synopsis of relevant scientific literature to inform their management decisions. This allowed us to examine whether the limited use of scientific information in management is due to a lack of access to the scientific literature or whether it is because practitioners are either not interested or unable to incorporate the research into their decisions. In on-line surveys, we asked 92 conservation managers, predominantly from Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, to provide opinions on 28 management techniques that could be applied to reduce predation on birds. We asked their opinions before and after giving them a summary of the literature about the interventions' effectiveness. We scored the overall effectiveness and certainty of evidence for each intervention through an expert elicitation processthe Delphi method. We used the effectiveness scores to assess the practitioners' level of understanding and awareness of the literature. On average, each survey participant changed their likelihood of using 45.7% of the interventions after reading the synopsis of the evidence. They were more likely to implement effective interventions and avoid ineffective actions, suggesting that their intended future management strategies may be more successful than current practice. More experienced practitioners were less likely to change their management practices than those with less experience, even though they were not more aware of the existing scientific information than less experienced practitioners. The practitioners' willingness to change their management choices when provided with summarized scientific evidence suggests that improved accessibility to scientific information would benefit conservation management outcomes. El Efecto de la Evidencia Cientifica sobre las Decisiones de Manejo de Quienes Practican la Conservacion Resumen Una justificacion mayor de la investigacion en el manejo ambiental es que ayuda a quienes lo practican, aunque estudios previos muestran que rara vez se usa para informar sus decisiones. Probamos si quienes practican la conservacion enfocada en el manejo de aves estaban dispuestos a usar una sinopsis de literatura cientifica relevante para informar sus decisiones de manejo. Esto permitio que examinaramos si el uso limitado de informacion cientifica en el manejo se debe a una falta de acceso a la literatura cientifica o si se debe a que quienes practican la conservacion no estan interesados o no son capaces de incorporar la investigacion a sus decisiones. En encuestas en linea les preguntamos a 92 practicantes de la conservacion, la mayoria de Australia, Nueva Zelanda y el Reino Unido, que nos proporcionaran opiniones sobre 28 tecnicas de manejo que podrian aplicarse para reducir la depredacion de aves. Les pedimos sus opiniones antes y despues de darles un resumen de la literatura sobre la efectividad de las intervenciones. Calificamos la efectividad general y la certidumbre de la evidencia para cada intervencion por medio de un proceso de extraccion por expertos - el metodo Delphi. Usamos las calificaciones de la efectividad para evaluar el nivel de entendimiento y de percatacion de la literatura de quienes practican la conservacion. En promedio, cada participante de la encuesta cambio su probabilidad de usar 45.7% de las intervenciones despues de leer la sinopsis de la evidencia. Fue mas probable que implementaran intervenciones efectivas y evitar acciones poco efectivas, lo que sugiere que sus estrategias de manejo futuras puedan ser mas exitosas que las de practica actual. Los practicantes con mayor experiencia tuvieron una menor probabilidad de cambiar sus practicas de manejo que aquellos con menos experiencia, aunque no estuvieron mas conscientes de la informacion cientifica existente que quienes tenian menos experiencia. La disponibilidad de los practicantes para cambiar sus opciones de manejo al proporcionarseles evidencia cientifica resumida sugiere que el acceso mejorado a la informacion cientifica podria beneficiar los resultados del manejo de la conservacion.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproductionin any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavior change,bird predation,conservation synopsis,delphi method,evidence-based conservation,implementation gap,invasive species,knowledge use,cambio conductual,conservacion basada en evidencia,depredacion de aves,especies invasoras,falta de datos de implementacion,metodo delphi,sinopsis de conservacion,uso del conocimiento
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2016 14:00
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2020 23:49
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/60805
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12370

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