Advances in approaches for evaluating conservation impacts and their strength and limitations
Convened by: Johanna Eklund, Judith Schleicher
One of the biggest challenges ahead for achieving Planetary Wellbeing is that we currently lack adequate knowledge of the impacts of different conservation strategies and other human interventions on the wellbeing of people and ecosystems. Although impact evaluation is well established in fields such as medicine and education, it is still relatively rare in nature conservation. As a result, there have been numerous calls for rigorous evaluations of conservation impacts. Recent methodological advances have resulted in an increasing use of counterfactual approaches (e.g. propensity score matching, randomised controlled trials), diversifying the approaches beyond more traditional methods (e.g. regression models, inside-outside comparisons). This symposium aims to present the most recent advances in relation to impact evaluations of different conservation interventions (e.g. ranging from both terrestrial and marine protected areas, to decentralized management, and payment for ecosystem services). This will be achieved by (1) providing insights into different approaches for evaluating their environmental and social impacts, (2) discussing the strengths and limitations of these different approaches, and (3) exploring the factors influencing conservation outcomes and how these vary between different conservation interventions. The symposium will bring together seven researchers from diverse backgrounds, and we aim to stimulate a fruitful debate, synthesizing knowledge on the strength and limitations of different approaches for evaluating diverse conservation interventions. Furthermore, we will identify future research needs, and provide a platform for discussing what is needed to use this knowledge for improving planetary wellbeing. For that purpose we will dedicate the last speaking slot for an interactive discussion with the participants.