What is Evidence-Based Conservation?

The process of systematic review traditionally has its roots in the medical sciences, but is now increasingly being employed by a range of applied disciplines in order to address the problems of accessing reliable scientific evidence to support practice and policy decision-making.

In contrast to a traditional review, which may be narrative, subjective and susceptible to bias, systematic review, as a consequence of its systematic nature, is a more powerful and robust approach to summarising the best available evidence. A systematic review follows a structured and transparent procedure, striving to obtain all relevant literature on the topic of interest: unpublished grey literature and research findings, as well as published peer-reviewed journal articles. The process of study inclusion into the review is clear, open and meticulously documented meaning that this process should be entirely repeatable in its conclusions. Meta-analysis may be used to integrate and summarise the results from individual studies within the review, to provide a single summary estimate for the effect of a given intervention on a subject.

Systematic review therefore is an important tool in allowing critical appraisal, summary and dissemination of results from a large volume of research and one which can support decision making by providing an objective, independent, and unbiased assessment of the best available evidence. Where evidence is unavailable, the systematic review process will highlight areas requiring further original research.

For more detailed information on systematic review, please see the following:

There are currently a number of organisations involved in evidence-based conservation: a summary of their work is provided in the table below, with a link to their homepage - please visit their webpages to find out more.

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence

An independent, not-for-profit organisation, the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence is a developing global partnership between scientists, managers, and practitioners, who share the goal of a sustainable environment and the conservation of biodiversity, achieved through increasing the effectiveness of conservation and environmental management.

At the heart of our action lies the ‘evidence based’ approach to decision making and CEE exists to make reliable, objective systematic reviews of good quality scientific evidence on issues of greatest concern, accessible to decision makers in the practitioner, managerial and policy communities.

We rely on the dedication and enthusiasm of scientists and managers to provide a reliable source of research evidence and to undertake systematic reviews, in order to continuously improve the effectiveness of our actions. The CEE website contains a small, but fast growing library of systematic reviews.

Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation
The CEBC is a Research and Dissemination Unit, based at Bangor University.

Funded and supported by a consortium of organisations from the conservation and environmental sector, the primary objective of the CEBC is to conduct and disseminate systematic reviews of evidence pertaining to questions identified by decision-makers in the conservation and environmental sectors. The Centre aims to investigate the effectiveness of a diverse variety of actions, from practical site management to national and international policy.

In addition, the centre provides support and training to researchers in conducting, interpreting and utilising the results of systematic reviews.


ConservationEvidence.com is a collaborative online resource which aims to improve the effectiveness of conservation by sharing knowledge on which management interventions work and which do not.

There are two parts to this resource:

1. An online, peer-reviewed journal: ‘Conservation Evidence’ – papers are case studies of original, unpublished observations that record the effectiveness of a particular management intervention.

2. A database of summaries of previously published articles that report the effectiveness of management interventions.

Created and maintained by the Nature Conservancy, in partnership with a number of collaborating organisations, ConserveOnline is an interactive online meeting place for the conservation community.

With the objective of improving conservation practice 'across organisations and national boundaries', this open-access website allows users to share information by submitting documents to the library, to collaborate through the creation of workspaces, initiation of discussions, and soliciting of feedback, and to find subject experts and resources on conservation science and practice.


Quick links

-Guidelines for conducting a systematic review

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