The long term

The long term is a strange place. We live in the here-and-now but the long term stretches out into the distant future. Most of it lies over our individual event horizons, and many of the choices we make today aren’t taken with any consideration of what they mean for the long term.

Environmental decision science is all about bridging the gulf between the here-and-now and the long term. It attempts to factor in present day costs and benefits, while working out the consequences of today’s choices on long term outcomes.

This issue of Decision Point examines a range of stories relating to long term conservation and the way we approach it. Up front we have Gwen Iacona reflecting on how the Tasmanian Land Conservancy plans for long-term management costs, something every conservation organisation should be doing.

Melinda Moir and colleagues talk about the ingredients necessary to run a long term conservation collaboration, in this case one aimed at conserving invertebrates in WA’s far south (which is a daunting prospect when you consider many of the inverts in this region haven’t even been described).

We have a special guest editorial from an overseas associate, Paul Armsworth. Paul has reviewed the empirical evidence of the true costs of conservation management over time and finds some of the assumptions that have been made in the theory on this topic are somewhat off the mark.

Prue Addison and Carly Cook tell us we should be proud of some of the long-term monitoring we do in our marine protected areas, but that maybe we should be using this data a bit more in how we manage these areas.

And we continue our series on influencing policy (always a long-term challenge). In this instalment we hear a perspective from WWF campaigner Martin Taylor on the ingredients of big wins in conservation.

May your choices in the here-and-now prosper in the long term.

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