Calling for a new agenda for conservation science to create evidence-informed policy

David Christian Rose, Tatsuya Amano, Juan P. González-Varo, Nibedita Mukherjee, Rebecca J. Robertson, Benno I. Simmons, Hannah S. Wauchope, William J. Sutherland

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Improving the use of scientific evidence in conservation policy has been a long-standing focus of the conservation community. A plethora of studies have examined conservation science-policy interfaces, including a recent global survey of scientists, policy-makers, and practitioners. This identified a list of top barriers and solutions to evidence use, which have considerable overlap with those identified by other studies conducted over the last few decades. The three top barriers – (i) that conservation is not a political priority, (ii) that there is poor engagement between scientists and decision-makers, and (iii) that conservation problems are complex and uncertain – have often been highlighted in the literature as significant constraints on the use of scientific evidence in conservation policy. There is also repeated identification of the solutions to these barriers. In this perspective, we consider three reasons for this: (1) the barriers are insurmountable, (2) the frequently-proposed solutions are poor, (3) there are implementation challenges to putting solutions into practice. We argue that implementation challenges are most likely to be preventing the solutions being put into practice and that the research agenda for conservation science-policy interfaces needs to move away from identifying barriers and solutions, and towards a detailed investigation of how to overcome these implementation challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108222
JournalBiological Conservation
Early online date10 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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