Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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Planning a conservation project - part 1

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By Christopher O'Bryan

As part of a lab-wide exercise, we are discussing the book Conservation Planning: Informed Decisions for a Healthier Planet by Craig Groves and Edward Game. The book, published in 2015, has recently been accepted as teaching material at the University of California, Davis.

The first chapter sets the scene for conservation planning, including its rationale, values, history, and different types of planning. The second chapter, our main focus today, goes over the context of planning, the importance of team composition and leadership, and a road map to conservation planning. We discussed the complexity of conservation planning in government and non-government organizations, including the pitfalls of planning too long for a conservation outcome.

Eve, who has held several decision-making workshops, talked about the importance of a good leadership in keeping multiple stakeholders involved in a planning process. She also discussed the importance of stakeholders rethinking their mental models to avoid “anchoring” their opinions (i.e., anchoring describes the human tendency to stick to initial beliefs even though these might be inferior to the optimal strategy). Finally, we discussed ideas regarding the funding of conservation plans, and the evolution of funding sources throughout history.

As we will continue working our way through this book, we aim to familiarise our group members, who have diverse backgrounds in ecology, conservation and astrophysics, with conservation planning from the eyes of managers and project planners.

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