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Conservation Science in Africa: Mainstreaming Biodiversity Information into Policy and Decision-Making

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Closing the Knowledge-Implementation Gap in Conservation Science

Abstract

In this chapter, we identify the cross-sectoral decisions that require biodiversity data, then summarize key challenges in Africa around the availability, usability and quality of data, willingness to use data, and capacity. A series of case studies highlight issues and lessons, including:

  • Data often inform protected area creation but are rarely used in monitoring established protected areas.

  • Companies have a key role in making data more accessible for decision-making.

  • Simple, replicable schemes can fill taxonomic and geographic data gaps.

  • Efforts to monitor coral reefs demonstrate what is possible when conservation scientists and practitioners collaborate.

  • Threat monitoring tools should be applied in community-based natural resource management schemes, as well as protected areas.

  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals and environment agreements stimulate the development of national capacity for data collection and use.

Solutions to help information users across Africa and Madagascar access high quality data in the right format at the right time include: scaling up efforts for using standard indicators and common tools; building capacity in key institutions; using partnerships and credible science-policy interfaces. Only by sharing and upscaling the solutions to data collection and use will we be able to mainstream biodiversity into decision-making and ultimately stop biodiversity loss.

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Stephenson, P.J. et al. (2021). Conservation Science in Africa: Mainstreaming Biodiversity Information into Policy and Decision-Making. In: Ferreira, C.C., Klütsch, C.F.C. (eds) Closing the Knowledge-Implementation Gap in Conservation Science. Wildlife Research Monographs, vol 4. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-81085-6_11

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