About Studies

Individual studies

An individual study is a short summary of a documented scientific study. Each is a brief (150-200 word) description that provides the background context, the conservation action(s) taken and the consequences. Studies come from systematic searches of scientific journals and other documented sources of evidence such as reports (‘grey literature’).

Each individual study has a separate page that provides the summary written for each of the actions that it tested. There is a link to each of those action pages, where you can read other evidence for the effectiveness of that action. 

Search for studies

Simply search for your species, habitat type or issue of interest. Our site will present you with a list of possible actions you could take, along with a plain English summary of the studies that test whether each action is effective (or not). From the Actions page you can  click on 'Review the evidence from the studies' to see individual studies relating to your search. You can search further within studies using the 'Refine' menu. 

Search using the search box at the top of each page or using the Advanced search.

Study inclusion

There are two fundamental criteria for inclusion of studies on the website:

  • There must have been an intervention that conservationists would do.
  • Its effects must have been monitored quantitatively and documented.

     

More specifically our inclusion criteria are:

1. Does the study measure the effect of an action that is or was under the control of humans, on wild taxa (including captives), habitats, or invasive/problem taxa? If yes, go to 2. If no, go to 3.

2. Could the action be put in place by a conservationist/decision maker to protect, manage or restore wild taxa or habitats, to reduce impacts of threats to wild taxa or habitats, or to control or mitigate the impact of the invasive/problem taxon on wild taxa or habitats? If yes, include. If no, exclude.

3. Does the study measure the effect of an action that is or was under the control of humans, on human behaviour that is relevant to conserving biodiversity? If yes, go to a. If no, exclude.

a) Does this study measure the effect of an action that is or was under human control on human behaviour (actual or intentional) which is likely to protect, manage or restore wild taxa or habitats, or reduce threats to wild taxa or habitats? If yes, go to b. If no, exclude.

b) Could the action be put in place by a conservationist, manager or decision maker to change human behaviour? If yes, include. If no, exclude.

 

We DO NOT include:

  • Theoretical modelling studies, as no action has been taken on the ground.
  • Correlative studies, i.e. studies that examine associations between biodiversity and habitat features without a clear link to a management action. Where correlative studies have strong conservation implications, they may be mentioned in the background sections for actions.
  • Studies solely reporting monitoring methods, species ecology, biodiversity surveys, or threats to biodiversity.
  • Studies with no quantitative monitoring of effects of actions including some review studies, descriptions of experiments with no results presented, or results presented qualitatively (as “success” or photographs).
  • Papers/reports with no additional scientific evidence including opinion pieces or papers that review literature but do not introduce any new data we have not covered already.

 

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, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 17

Go to the CE Journal

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