Environmental Management

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 791–801 | Cite as

Guidelines for Using Movement Science to Inform Biodiversity Policy

  • Philip S. Barton
  • Pia E. Lentini
  • Erika Alacs
  • Sana Bau
  • Yvonne M. Buckley
  • Emma L. Burns
  • Don A. Driscoll
  • Lydia K. Guja
  • Heini Kujala
  • José J. Lahoz-Monfort
  • Alessio Mortelliti
  • Ran Nathan
  • Ross Rowe
  • Annabel L. Smith


Substantial advances have been made in our understanding of the movement of species, including processes such as dispersal and migration. This knowledge has the potential to improve decisions about biodiversity policy and management, but it can be difficult for decision makers to readily access and integrate the growing body of movement science. This is, in part, due to a lack of synthesis of information that is sufficiently contextualized for a policy audience. Here, we identify key species movement concepts, including mechanisms, types, and moderators of movement, and review their relevance to (1) national biodiversity policies and strategies, (2) reserve planning and management, (3) threatened species protection and recovery, (4) impact and risk assessments, and (5) the prioritization of restoration actions. Based on the review, and considering recent developments in movement ecology, we provide a new framework that draws links between aspects of movement knowledge that are likely the most relevant to each biodiversity policy category. Our framework also shows that there is substantial opportunity for collaboration between researchers and government decision makers in the use of movement science to promote positive biodiversity outcomes.


Connectivity Conservation policy Decision Dispersal Government Impact assessment Intervention Management Migration Restoration Risk assessment Threatened species Translocation 



We thank Karen Ikin for helpful comments on an early version of the manuscript. Ran Nathan acknowledges support of an International Collaboration Award from the Australian Research Council Discovery project grant (DP110101480), the Adelina and Massimo Della Pergola Chair of Life Sciences, and the Minerva Center for Movement Ecology. The ideas presented in this paper were developed by the authors at a workshop funded by the National Environmental Research Program, Environmental Decisions Hub. Thanks to Randall Storey for valuable contributions at the workshop. The National Environmental Research Program is a policy initiative employed by the Australian Government to facilitate the integration of science and policy.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip S. Barton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pia E. Lentini
    • 3
    • 10
  • Erika Alacs
    • 4
  • Sana Bau
    • 3
    • 10
  • Yvonne M. Buckley
    • 5
    • 11
  • Emma L. Burns
    • 2
    • 6
  • Don A. Driscoll
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lydia K. Guja
    • 7
  • Heini Kujala
    • 3
    • 10
  • José J. Lahoz-Monfort
    • 3
    • 10
  • Alessio Mortelliti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ran Nathan
    • 8
  • Ross Rowe
    • 2
    • 4
    • 9
  • Annabel L. Smith
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National Environmental Research ProgramEnvironmental Decisions HubCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.School of BioSciencesThe University of MelbourneParkville, MelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Australian Government Department of the EnvironmentCanberraAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Zoology, School of Natural SciencesTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  6. 6.Long-Term Ecological Research NetworkTerrestrial Ecosystem Research NetworkCanberraAustralia
  7. 7.Centre for Australian National Biodiversity ResearchCSIRO Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia
  8. 8.Department of Ecology, Evolution and BehaviourThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  9. 9.National Environmental Research Program, Landscapes and Policy HubUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  10. 10.National Environmental Research ProgramEnvironmental Decisions HubMelbourneAustralia
  11. 11.National Environmental Research ProgramEnvironmental Decisions HubBrisbaneAustralia

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