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      Providing more protected space for tigers Panthera tigris: a landscape conservation approach in the Western Ghats, southern India

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          Abstract

          Conservation of large carnivores is challenging as they face various threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation. One of the current challenges to tigerPanthera tigrisconservation in India is the conversion of habitat to uses that are incompatible with conservation of the species. Bringing more tiger habitat within a protected area system and in the process creating a network of connected protected areas will deliver dual benefits of wildlife conservation and protection of watersheds. Focusing on the southern Indian state of Karnataka, which holds one of the largest contiguous tiger populations, we attempted to address this challenge using a conservation planning technique that considers ecological, social and political factors. This approach yielded several conservation successes, including an expansion of the protected area network by 2,385 km2, connection of 23 protected areas, and the creation of three complexes of protected areas, increasing the protected area network in Karnataka from 3.8 to 5.2% of the state's land area. This represents the largest expansion of protected areas in India since the 1970s. Such productive partnerships between government officials and conservationists highlight the importance of complementary roles in conservation planning and implementation.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Knowing but not doing: selecting priority conservation areas and the research-implementation gap.

          Conservation assessment is a rapidly evolving discipline whose stated goal is the design of networks of protected areas that represent and ensure the persistence of nature (i.e., species, habitats, and environmental processes) by separating priority areas from the activities that degrade or destroy them. Nevertheless, despite a burgeoning scientific literature that ever refines these techniques for allocating conservation resources, it is widely believed that conservation assessments are rarely translated into actions that actually conserve nature. We reviewed the conservation assessment literature in peer-reviewed journals and conducted survey questionnaires of the authors of these studies. Two-thirds of conservation assessments published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature do not deliver conservation action, primarily because most researchers never plan for implementation. This research-implementation gap between conservation science and real-world action is a genuine phenomenon and is a specific example of the "knowing-doing gap" that is widely recognized in management science. Given the woefully inadequate resources allocated for conservation, our findings raise questions over the utility of conservation assessment science, as currently practiced, to provide useful, pragmatic solutions to conservation planning problems. A reevaluation of the conceptual and operational basis of conservation planning research is urgently required. We recommend the following actions for beginning a process for bridging the research-implementation gap in conservation planning: (1) acknowledge the research-implementation gap is real, (2) source research questions from practitioners, (3) situate research within a broader conservation planning model, (4) expand the social dimension of conservation assessments, (5) support conservation plans with transdisciplinary social learning institutions, (6) reward academics for societal engagement and implementation, and (7) train students in skills for "doing" conservation.
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            The Fate of Wild Tigers

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              Assessing the viability of tiger subpopulations in a fragmented landscape

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Oryx
                Oryx
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0030-6053
                1365-3008
                April 2016
                March 2015
                : 50
                : 02
                : 336-343
                Article
                10.1017/S0030605314000751
                © 2016

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