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of interest: unpublished grey literature and research findings,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
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.
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
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
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.