Organising evidence for environmental management decisions: a ‘4S’ hierarchy

Dicks, Lynn V. ORCID:, Walsh, Jessica C. and Sutherland, William J. (2014) Organising evidence for environmental management decisions: a ‘4S’ hierarchy. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29 (11). pp. 607-613. ISSN 0169-5347

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Making decisions informed by the best-available science is an objective for many organisations managing the environment or natural resources. Yet, available science is still not widely used in environmental policy and practice. We describe a '4S' hierarchy for organising relevant science to inform decisions. This hierarchy has already revolutionised clinical practice. It is beginning to emerge for environmental management, although all four levels need substantial development before environmental decision-makers can reliably and efficiently find the evidence they need. We expose common bypass routes that currently lead to poor or biased representation of scientific knowledge. We argue that the least developed level of the hierarchy is that closest to decision-makers, placing synthesised scientific knowledge into environmental decision support systems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: evidence,evidence-based conservation,information,policy,practice,environmental management,environmental decision-making
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2016 16:00
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 20:30
DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.09.004


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