The major barriers to evidence‐informed conservation policy and possible solutions

David C. Rose, William J. Sutherland, Tatsuya Amano, Juan P. González-Varo, Rebecca J. Robertson, Benno I. Simmons, Hannah S. Wauchope, Eszter Kovacs, América Paz Durán, Alice B. M. Vadrot, Weiling Wu, Maria P. Dias, Martina M. I. Di Fonzo, Sarah Ivory, Lucia Norris, Matheus Henrique Nunes, Tobias Ochieng Nyumba, Noa Steiner, Juliet Vickery, Nibedita Mukherjee

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Conservation policy decisions can suffer from a lack of evidence, hindering effective decision‐making. In nature conservation, studies investigating why policy is often not evidence‐informed have tended to focus on Western democracies, with relatively small samples. To understand global variation and challenges better, we established a global survey aimed at identifying top barriers and solutions to the use of conservation science in policy. This obtained the views of 758 people in policy, practice, and research positions from 68 countries across six languages. Here we show that, contrary to popular belief, there is agreement between groups about how to incorporate conservation science into policy, and there is thus room for optimism. Barriers related to the low priority of conservation were considered to be important, while mainstreaming conservation was proposed as a key solution. Therefore, priorities should focus on convincing the public of the importance of conservation as an issue, which will then influence policy‐makers to adopt pro‐environmental long‐term policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12564
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number5
Early online date20 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • conservation policy
  • evidence‐based conservation
  • evidence‐informed conservation
  • knowledge exchange
  • political science
  • science communication
  • science‐policy

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