1 Tahrcountry Musings: A suggestion to use perceptions as evidence in conservation practice

Monday, May 23, 2016

A suggestion to use perceptions as evidence in conservation practice

Using perceptions as evidence to improve conservation and environmental management
Nathan James Bennett
Conservation Biology, Volume 30, Issue 3, pages 582–592, June 2016

The researcher start off saying that as part of a broader move toward adaptive management and evidence-based conservation, the conservation community is increasingly focusing on the monitoring and evaluation of management, governance, ecological, and social considerations .Evidence is any information that can be used to come to a conclusion and support a judgement or, in this case, to make decisions that will improve conservation policies, actions, and outcomes. Perceptions are one type of information that is often dismissed as anecdotal by those arguing for evidence-based conservation.

 In this paper the researcher points out the contributions of research on perceptions of conservation to improve adaptive and evidence-based conservation. The researcher goes on to add that studies of the perceptions of local people can provide important insights into observations, understandings and interpretations of the social impacts, and ecological outcomes of conservation; the legitimacy of conservation governance; and the social acceptability of environmental management. The researcher goes on to add that perceptions of these factors contribute to positive or negative local evaluations of conservation initiatives. He says it is positive perceptions, not just objective scientific evidence of effectiveness that ultimately ensure the support of local constituents thus enabling the long-term success of conservation. The researcher signs off saying research on perceptions can inform courses of action to improve conservation and governance at scales ranging from individual initiatives to national and international policies. Better incorporation of evidence from across the social and natural sciences and integration of a plurality of methods into monitoring and evaluation will provide a more complete picture on which to base conservation decisions and environmental management.

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