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A comparative approach to assess drivers of success in mammalian conservation recovery programmes

Crees, JJ; Collins, AC; Stephenson, PJ; Meredith, HMR; Young, RP; Howe, C; Stanley Price, MR; (2016) A comparative approach to assess drivers of success in mammalian conservation recovery programmes. Conservation Biology , 30 (4) pp. 694-705. 10.1111/cobi.12652. Green open access

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Abstract

The outcomes of species recovery programmes have been mixed, with high-profile population recoveries contrasting with species-level extinctions. Although each conservation intervention faces its own challenges, it is imperative to assess whether such lessons have wider general applicability. To contribute towards evidence-based improvement of future conservation strategies, we conducted global-scale quantitative analysis of 48 mammalian recovery programmes based on peer-reviewed literature and semi-structured interviews with conservation scientists and practitioners, investigating ecological, management and political factors associated with population recoveries or declines. The importance of identifying and removing threats was shown strongly by our results, emphasizing that populations are likely to continue to be negatively impacted if threats are not reduced or removed. Our analysis also highlights the importance of management strategies such as robust threat monitoring. Small population size and lack of habitat were associated with longer-term dependence on conservation intervention; this demonstrates the importance of increasing population numbers quickly, and restoring and protecting habitat to ensure long-term population recovery. Informants also cited poor stakeholder coordination and management as key weaknesses in recovery programmes, indicating the importance of effective leadership and shared goals and management plans. Project outcomes were not influenced by ecological variables, suggesting that recommendations from our results are applicable to other recovery programmes. Our study demonstrates the value in conducting quantitative comparative assessments of factors influencing success in conservation interventions. We encourage further such studies, particularly at more geographically localised scales, and recommend that the conservation community continues to evaluate and learn lessons from past experiences and adapt future strategies accordingly.

Type: Article
Title: A comparative approach to assess drivers of success in mammalian conservation recovery programmes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12652
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12652
Language: English
Additional information: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Crees, J. J., Collins, A. C., Stephenson, P. J., Meredith, H. M. R., Young, R. P., Howe, C., Price, M. R. S. and Turvey, S. T. (2016), A comparative approach to assess drivers of success in mammalian conservation recovery programs. Conservation Biology, 30: 694–705, which has been published in final form at doi:10.1111/cobi.12652. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Keywords: Conservation evidence-base, evaluation, extinction, intervention, recovery programme
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472091
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