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      How to ensure threatened species monitoring leads to threatened species conservation

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          Monitoring for conservation.

          Human-mediated environmental changes have resulted in appropriate concern for the conservation of ecological systems and have led to the development of many ecological monitoring programs worldwide. Many programs that are identified with the purpose of 'surveillance' represent an inefficient use of conservation funds and effort. Here, we revisit the 1964 paper by Platt and argue that his recommendations about the conduct of science are equally relevant to the conduct of ecological monitoring programs. In particular, we argue that monitoring should not be viewed as a stand-alone activity, but instead as a component of a larger process of either conservation-oriented science or management. Corresponding changes in monitoring focus and design would lead to substantial increases in the efficiency and usefulness of monitoring results in conservation.
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            Optimal allocation of resources among threatened species: a project prioritization protocol.

            Conservation funds are grossly inadequate to address the plight of threatened species. Government and conservation organizations faced with the task of conserving threatened species desperately need simple strategies for allocating limited resources. The academic literature dedicated to systematic priority setting usually recommends ranking species on several criteria, including level of endangerment and metrics of species value such as evolutionary distinctiveness, ecological importance, and social significance. These approaches ignore 2 crucial factors: the cost of management and the likelihood that the management will succeed. These oversights will result in misallocation of scarce conservation resources and possibly unnecessary losses. We devised a project prioritization protocol (PPP) to optimize resource allocation among New Zealand's threatened-species projects, where costs, benefits (including species values), and the likelihood of management success were considered simultaneously. We compared the number of species managed and the expected benefits gained with 5 prioritization criteria: PPP with weightings based on species value; PPP with species weighted equally; management costs; species value; and threat status. We found that the rational use of cost and success information substantially increased the number of species managed, and prioritizing management projects according to species value or threat status in isolation was inefficient and resulted in fewer species managed. In addition, we found a clear trade-off between funding management of a greater number of the most cost-efficient and least risky projects and funding fewer projects to manage the species of higher value. Specifically, 11 of 32 species projects could be funded if projects were weighted by species value compared with 16 projects if projects were not weighted. This highlights the value of a transparent decision-making process, which enables a careful consideration of trade-offs. The use of PPP can substantially improve conservation outcomes for threatened species by increasing efficiency and ensuring transparency of management decisions.
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              Targeting global conservation funding to limit immediate biodiversity declines

              Inadequate funding levels are a major impediment to effective global biodiversity conservation and are likely associated with recent failures to meet United Nations biodiversity targets. Some countries are more severely underfunded than others and therefore represent urgent financial priorities. However, attempts to identify these highly underfunded countries have been hampered for decades by poor and incomplete data on actual spending, coupled with uncertainty and lack of consensus over the relative size of spending gaps. Here, we assemble a global database of annual conservation spending. We then develop a statistical model that explains 86% of variation in conservation expenditures, and use this to identify countries where funding is robustly below expected levels. The 40 most severely underfunded countries contain 32% of all threatened mammalian diversity and include neighbors in some of the world’s most biodiversity-rich areas (Sundaland, Wallacea, and Near Oceania). However, very modest increases in international assistance would achieve a large improvement in the relative adequacy of global conservation finance. Our results could therefore be quickly applied to limit immediate biodiversity losses at relatively little cost.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
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                Journal
                Ecological Management & Restoration
                Ecol Manag Restor
                Wiley
                14427001
                September 2018
                September 2018
                August 31 2018
                : 19
                : 3
                : 222-229
                Article
                10.1111/emr.12335
                a1789864-d605-4f4b-9a2e-11b6f162bad4
                © 2018

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

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