Structured analysis of conservation strategies applied to temporary conservation

Atte Moilanen, Jussi Laitila, Timo Vaahtoranta, Lynn V. Dicks, William J. Sutherland

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We present a novel framework for the structured analysis of conservation strategies, concentrating on their conceptual, causal, logical and qualitative aspects. The analysis both increases our understanding of conservation strategies and provides a tool for supporting their use in decision making. It facilitates answering such questions as: What are the basic characteristics of the strategy? What are its biological targets? What are its aims, paths of influence and expected benefits? Where should the strategy best be applied and by whom? How should the strategy be applied over time? What are the data needs? What major assumptions underlie the strategy? Which are the major costs, constraints, and uncertainties that might influence its feasibility and application? How does the strategy relate to other conservation strategies? Are there viable alternatives? We also examine the emergent properties of the strategy, asking what the world would be like if the strategy was applied extensively. We examine the usefulness of structured analysis by applying it to the strategy of temporary conservation, which incorporates dynamic reserves and temporary conservation contracts, either to maintain a regional distribution of successional habitats or to facilitate climate-change induced range shifts of species. This application showed that these strategies have appeared under various names, that they require extensive data, that implementation involves significant uncertainties, and that associated uncertainties increase through time. Applying the proposed framework to a range of conservation strategies would improve our ability to identify most appropriate paths of conservation when many alternatives exist. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Conservation
Early online date25 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Conservation agreement
  • Conservation contract
  • Conservation evidence
  • Conservation planning
  • Conservation prioritization
  • Conservation strategy
  • Dynamic reserves
  • Emergence
  • Floating reserve
  • Implementation

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