Raising the profile of Conservation Evidence

11 Sep 2017

The Conservation Evidence Project (ConservationEvidence.com), set up by Professor Bill Sutherland at the University of Cambridge, is a free and reliable online resource which summarises the scientific evidence on different conservation interventions that people have done all around the world. The project has recently announced two new and exciting initiatives to further its aim of helping organisations to make better-informed decisions and be as effective as possible in conserving nature.

The Conservation Evidence website shows those interventions which have worked, as well as those which have not, opening up a wealth of information to conservation groups. The first initiative is the creation of ‘Evidence Champions’ within conservation organisations. Evidence Champions have made a commitment to collaborate with the Conservation Evidence Project, in order to integrate Conservation Evidence into their decision making. The Vincent Wildlife Trust, Froglife, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, the Whitley Awards and Oryx have all pledged to check the scientific evidence on ConservationEvidence.com every time they make a conservation decision.

Martin Fisher, the editor of Oryx (The International Journal of Conservation Fauna & Flora), feels that his journal’s decision to ask contributors to discuss the evidence on ConservationEvidence.com will improve the standard of discussion in papers and even affect how projects are planned: "We know that humans have a tendency to cherry pick and discuss the existing literature that supports their views". Find out more information or register your interest in becoming an Evidence Champion.

The second recent initiative from the Conservation Evidence Project involves efforts to collect conservation science in multiple languages. A recent study (December 2016) published in the journal PLOS Biology found that over a third of new conservation science documents published annually are in non- English languages. The Conservation Evidence Project is therefore building an expansive Catalogue of non-English language journals relevant to ecology and conservation science and publishing these to their website, removing the language barrier.

Dr Tatsuya Amano from Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and Department of Zoology says "We should see this as an opportunity as well as a challenge. Overcoming language barriers can help us achieve less biased knowledge and enhance the application of science globally." So far, the team have collected over 200 journal titles from 20 different languages. Collaborators from all over the world are welcomed to contribute to the initiative. Find out more information or register your interest in helping to build the catelogue of non-English language journals.

If you are interested in staying up to date on the Conservation Evidence Project, you can sign up to their newsletter.