13 Aug 2013

Results of survey on promoting evidence-based bird conservation

By Tris Allinson

A questionnaire survey, on how to best promote evidence-based bird conservation, launched in June by BirdLife International and the University of Cambridge, has ended with an excellent participation from bird conservationists (600 people completed all or part of the survey, and 177 attempted but were not eligible as they were not involved in bird conservation practice), representing 102 countries of the world. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the survey for their time and inputs. From everyone who completed the survey, we randomly selected a winner of a hard copy of the recently published synopsis “Bird conservation: global evidence for the effects of interventions.” The winner was Liliana Ayala, from Peru, who works in seabird conservation in her country and in Antarctica and the book has been posted to her. The book is also available to everyone and can be purchased, freely downloaded as PDF (recently updated to include a dynamic Table of contents), and read in the web. The survey results are a summarised at SeabirdEvidence.wordpress.com/survey/. The results suggest a range of options to promote the use of knowledge resources that can inform conservation decisions around the world based on evidence, such as the bird synopsis, Conservation Evidence, and BirdLife’s State of the World’s Birds, as well as recommending ways to overcome barriers to publication. Regarding the new book Bird Conservation, most respondents agreed that this new resource is relevant or highly relevant to their conservation work, and that they were likely or highly likely to use it to inform future decisions. The most important barriers to publication according to respondents were lack of time to write up scientific papers, payments for publication and language limitations. Accordingly the most accepted options to overcome these barriers were for organizations to allocate specific time for their staff to write up papers; increase access to published literature and increase opportunities to publish short papers whether the outcome was expected or not. Two conservation journals are already implementing some of these actions to facilitate the publication of results by bird conservation practitioners from around the world. BirdLife’s Bird Conservation International, an international journal publishing original papers on the conservation of birds and their habitats, promotes publication of conservation research from all around the world. It facilitates access to the information by offering special subscription rates for developing countries, and by making copies freely available to BirdLife Partners. Conservation Evidence is an open-access and free (for both publishing and reading) journal that publishes short and concise reports on the outcomes of conservation interventions for birds and other taxa, encouraging the publishing of both positive and negative results. A communication campaign, using the seabird conservation community as a model, has been promoting the use of evidence for the conservation of the world’s birds. Although focused on seabirds, the information can be useful for practitioners working on any bird groups. Follow the campaign via twitter.com/SeabirdEvidence or facebook.com/SeabirdEvidence, or visit the website SeabirdEvidence.wordpress.com which summarizes the importance of evidence-based conservation and the ways to use and contribute to it. Please, do not hesitate to contact us for any questions regarding this survey and the campaign (contact Alfredo Romero-Muñoz at ar677@cam.ac.uk) Once again, many thanks to everyone who has taken part in this survey.