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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Trends, biases and effectiveness in reported conservation interventions

Published source details

Spooner F., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2015) Trends, biases and effectiveness in reported conservation interventions. Conservation Evidence, 12, 2-7


The journal Conservation Evidence was launched just over ten years ago and here we review the trends and biases in the studies published between 2004 and March 2014; 246 papers describing 439 conservation interventions in 35 countries. The aim of the journal is to provide a format for practitioners to publish the results of their work.  This seems to have been achieved as over 70% of the 609 authors were practitioners. As well as publishing the results of successful interventions, the journal encourages authors to report interventions that were unsuccessful and this was the case for almost a third (31%) of all those published. These results provide especially valuable information to practitioners. Studies published in the first few years tended to be carried out in the UK, but this bias has reduced over time, with at least 60% of papers from overseas in recent years. There continues to be a high rate of male authorship, which is likely to be a symptom of wider scale gender imbalances in conservation amongst both academics and practitioners. The majority of papers submitted to and published in Conservation Evidence have focussed on plants and birds (59%).  There is a clear need for more studies testing interventions for fish, reptiles, amphibians and fungi. Similarly, few studies so far have focused on the social aspects of conservation.