Current Projects and Collaborations

Introduction

As well as collating the documented evidence, we also work on numerous projects to make the use and application of this evidence easier. Below we list our current projects and collaborations. 

Our published outputs can be found here.

 

The Evidence Champions

We run a partnership programme, The Evidence Champions, which you can read more about here. These are organisations that commit to evidence-based conservation and, in return, receive training and support from us to help them use evidence.

Many of these organisations have worked with us to identify barriers to evidence use and to develop a range of principles, tools and resources to help embed evidence in decision making. 

 

Evidence Assessment and Decision Support Tools

We are working with Evidence Champions to trial the use of new evidence assessment tools and decision support tools. This includes the Evidence-to-Decision tool (www.evidence2decisiontool.com), which is an initial template to encourage practitioners in conservation to transparently document the evidence and reasoning they use to make decisions. We are also working on evidence assessment tools that directly combine evidence from diverse sources (e.g., scientific and local/indigenous knowledge) to make evidence-based decisions by assessing the reliability and relevance of that evidence. This collaborative project has been initiated with Nick Salafsky, Foundations of Success, and Robyn Irvine, Parks Canada, and we welcome others to join us.

If you are interested in finding out more you can contact Alec Christie: apc58@cam.ac.uk.

 

Cost-effectiveness 

The Cost-Effectiveness of Actions to Mitigate the Impact of Power Line Infrastructure on At-Risk Bird Species

Working with Birdlife International, we conducted a project to collate information on the effectiveness, costs and feasibility of different interventions to mitigate the impact of power line infrastructure on bird species at high risk of collisions and electrocutions. We have worked to develop a detailed case study that compares the cost-effectiveness of different construction scenarios and mitigation techniques (including rerouting, placing the line underground and bird flight divertors). 

If you are interested in finding out more you can contact Tom White at tbw27@cam.ac.uk

 

The Cost-Effectiveness of Agricultural Interventions for Biodiversity

Working with YAGRO, Conservation Evidence have investigated the costs and cost-effectiveness of different actions to protect biodiversity on farmland in the UK. This includes commonly applied measures such as buffer strips, wildflower strips and wild bird seed plots. The results of the project have highlighted the high variability in the costs and effects of different actions, which vary depending on how both effects and costs are measured. Such information could be integrated into decision support tools for farmers and governments who want to efficiently and effectively conserve biodiversity on agricultural land. 

If you are interested in finding out more you can contact Tom White at tbw27@cam.ac.uk

 

Cool Farm Tool

Integrating globally-recognised sustainability metrics for tropical perennial crops in a one-stop shop 

This project aims to expand the ability of the Cool Farm Alliance’s Cool Farm Tool – a science-based decision support tool that assesses the sustainability of farming practices – to allow it to be used by farmers in the global south, with a particular focus on perennial crops. Perennial crops make up 30% of global croplands, are some of our key food commodity crops, and are very important to hundreds of thousands of smallholder producers across the tropics, but Cool Farm Tool modules are not yet fully in place for these systems.

This NERC funded project aims to develop all the necessary modules to report carbon and water footprints, and biodiversity impacts of farming strategies used within tropical perennial systems. The project will then test the modules across a range of crops (sugarcane, mango, coffee, orange, banana, tea, grapes, and avocado) in collaboration with businesses that are members of the Cool Farm Alliance and the Wellcome Trust funded Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) Project in India and South Africa. Specifically it will:

Add new soil carbon stock factors for perennial crops to existing Cool Farm Tool modules

  • Adapt the existing water footprinting module of the Cool Farm Tool to perennials
  • Develop a biodiversity module for tropical forest biome agriculture
  • Combine the carbon stock, water footprint, and biodiversity module developments into an integrated tool, and pilot it in India and South Africa

The Conservation Evidence database will play a crucial role in the development of the biodiversity module for tropical forest biome agriculture by providing an easy-to-access repository of available published evidence about the effectiveness of different agricultural management strategies for supporting biodiversity. This evidence will underpin the design of the management actions that are included in the tool and the scores that they receive for how biodiversity-friendly they are.

The project is led by:

Jon Hillier, University of Edinburgh

Lynn Dicks, University of Cambridge

Alan Dangour, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Richard Heathcoate, Cool Farm Alliance

Sarah Luke, University of Cambridge

 

Metadataset

Metadataset (metadataset.com) aims to tackle one of the major issues faced in evidence synthesis; how to make global evidence relevant at local scales. Current methods of evidence synthesis, such as meta-analysis, typically answer questions at large (global) scales, e.g. “what is the effect of using crop rotations on soil health?”. Global syntheses like this are essential for informing evidence-based conservation. However, evidence users (e.g., conservation practitioners) often need to make decisions at local scales, and are interested in evidence related to their specific circumstances, e.g. “what is the effect of rotating maize with cassava in unfertilized fields in an arid climate?”. In these circumstances, it can be difficult to assess the relevance of global evidence at local scales.
Metadataset tries to address this problem using a new kind of evidence synthesis called dynamic meta-analysis, which enables evidence users to easily access and analyse evidence that is relevant to them (see our preprint on this here). Metadataset is an online tool, where users can filter and weight evidence based on their needs. Global results are recalculated to local scales using subgroup analysis, meta-regression, and recalibration. Dynamic meta-analysis enables evidence users to make decisions that are typically made by synthesists, e.g. which studies to include (critical appraisal) and how to handle missing data (sensitivity analysis). Therefore, it represents a rebalancing of power in evidence synthesis.

If you are interested in finding out more you can contact Alec Christie:  apc58@cam.ac.uk

 

Evidence-based guidance

Developing evidence-based guidance for seabird conservation in the face of climate change

We are working in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London to develop guidelines for the conservation of European seabirds in the face of climate change. We have produced a set of species-specific guidance documents that outline (a) evidence for vulnerability of the species to climate change, e.g. known impacts of climate change, traits that confer sensitivity to climate change, predicted future habitat suitability, and (b) potential conservation actions and evidence for the effectiveness of these, drawing on the Conservation Evidence Bird Synopsis. We held workshops and discussions with stakeholders across Europe to incorporate their experience into the guidance, and ensure it meet the needs of our target users.

The guidance is available to download here: https://issuu.com/zoologicalsocietyoflondon/docs/seabirds_in_ne_atlantic_climate_change

Project team: Henry Häkkinen (ZSL), Nigel Taylor (Conservation Evidence/Consultant), Silviu Petrovan (Conservation Evidence), William Sutherland (Conservation Evidence), Nathalie Pettorelli (ZSL). 

Contact: nt461@cam.ac.uk. Funding: Stichting Ave Fenix Europa.

 

The Conservation Learning Initiative

As part of its legacy and efforts to share its experiences, the MAVA Foundation challenged Foundations of Success and Conservation Evidence to join forces to make the most of the conservation data that MAVA had accumulated over the years. A basic approach for evidence-based conservation learning was developed. At the same time, evidence was collected from the MAVA project portfolio and from published literature on four widely used conservation strategies: capacity-building, partnerships and alliances, flexible funding, and research and monitoring. The results of this joint initiative are presented in a new website, Conservation Learning. The website is intended for all conservationists – practitioners, scientists, and funders alike – whether you are interested in the approach to practice evidence-based conservation learning, or in the findings about widely used strategies to support conservation.

 

 

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered speciesVincet Wildlife Trust