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Implementation strategies for systematic conservation planning

Abstract

The field of systematic conservation planning has grown substantially, with hundreds of publications in the peer-reviewed literature and numerous applications to regional conservation planning globally. However, the extent to which systematic conservation plans have influenced management is unclear. This paper analyses factors that facilitate the transition from assessment to implementation in conservation planning, in order to help integrate assessment and implementation into a seamless process. We propose a framework for designing implementation strategies, taking into account three critical planning aspects: processes, inputs, and context. Our review identified sixteen processes, which we broadly grouped into four themes and eight inputs. We illustrate how the framework can be used to inform context-dependent implementation strategies, using the process of ‘engagement’ as an example. The example application includes both lessons learned from successfully implemented plans across the engagement spectrum, and highlights key barriers that can hinder attempts to bridge the assessment-implementation gap.

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Acknowledgements

This paper evolved from the symposium and associated workshop “From plans to outcomes: towards an implementation strategy for conservation planning” at the International Congress for Conservation Biology 2013 held in Baltimore, Maryland USA. We thank all contributors to that symposium for sharing their ideas and case studies. VMA, RW, GG, RLP, and JGAR acknowledge support of the Australian Research Council.

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Correspondence to Vanessa M. Adams.

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Adams, V.M., Mills, M., Weeks, R. et al. Implementation strategies for systematic conservation planning. Ambio 48, 139–152 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-018-1067-2

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Keywords

  • Conformance-based evaluation
  • Plan implementation
  • Planning-implementation gap
  • Performance-based evaluation
  • Protected areas
  • Research-implementation gap