Barriers to evaluating conservation efforts (a Samoan case study)

This study conducted a country-wide evaluation of terrestrial-based conservation programs in Samoa. The benefit of evaluating multiple projects at the same time is that it highlights factors that are persistent and influential across the entire conservation sector.

It found mixed success in achieving goals among conservation programs; yet this result is surrounded by uncertainty because of the quality of existing evidence on project outcomes. The study explored the role of different components of the conservation management system (context, planning, inputs, processes and outputs) in facilitating and/or constraining collection of data on project outcomes, and thereby assessment of whether projects were successful.

The analysis identified a number of direct and indirect barriers that affected the capacity of projects to carry out informative evaluations and generate knowledge on conservation progress in Samoa. These include the availability and management of data, design and planning of projects, and systems for reporting among donors and proponents. To overcome these barriers to evaluation it is recommended that a shift in institutional approaches to reporting outcomes is needed.

 More info: Madeleine Bottrill

Bottrill MC, M Hockings & HP Possingham (2011). In pursuit of knowledge: addressing barriers to effective conservation evaluation. Ecology and Society 16: 14.

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