Abstract: Over the last three decades a great deal of research, money, and effort have been put into the development of theory and techniques designed to make conservation more efficient. Much of the recent emphasis has been on methods to identify areas of high conservation interest and to design efficient networks of nature reserves. Reserve selection algorithms, gap analysis, and other computerized approaches have much potential to transform conservation planning, yet these methods are used only infrequently by those charged with managing landscapes. We briefly describe different approaches to identifying potentially valuable areas and methods for reserve selection and then discuss the reasons they remain largely unused by conservationists and land‐use planners. Our informal discussions with ecologists, conservationists, and land managers from Europe and the United States suggested that the main reason for the low level of adoption of these sophisticated tools is simply that land managers have been unaware of them. Where this has not been the case, low levels of funding, lack of understanding about the purpose of these tools, and general antipathy toward what is seen as a prescriptive approach to conservation all play a part. We recognize there is no simple solution but call for a closer dialogue between theoreticians and practitioners in conservation biology. The two communities might be brought into closer contact in numerous ways, including carefully targeted publication of research and Internet communication. However it is done, we feel that the needs of land managers need to be catered to by those engaged in conservation research and that managers need to be more aware of what science can contribute to practical conservation.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1999
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