Conservation Decision Making

Making the best choices for recovering threatened species is not easy.

This is especially the case when we have little information (evidence) to base our recommendations on. We often have high uncertainty in exact causes of a species decline and also in how well a population will respond to management intervention. On top of this, the stakes are obviously high. Choices are therefore made within a high-risk landscape and our attitudes toward risk will strongly influence the choices we make. Finally we almost always work within diverse groups of people to conserve species and we are faced with a mix of multiple objectives and range of possible and competing management alternatives. This is a near ubiquitous scenario for threatened species conservation. How do we best proceed to develop and implement management plans?

Our research group uses structured decision making as a powerful set of decision aids that can help critically evaluate and select the best management actions in threatened species conservation.

Structured decision making is the collaborative and facilitated application of decision-aid tools to help groups solve environmental management and public policy problems by balancing choices across multiple objectives (see Gregory et al. 2012). It is based on an iterative process in which objectives are explicitly stated, clearly defined alternative management strategies are evaluated in terms of their expected outcomes, and trade-offs are solved, while explicitly accounting for uncertainty.

We have been using these tools in our own research projects and as contracted facilitators for other groups to assist in their conservation planning. Please explore our website and researcher profiles to learn more about the power of decision analysis and our application of it in research and management of threatened species. We are eager to help, so if you would like more information or wish to engage us to help you make critical conservation choices then please contact us.

Decision making work