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Keywords:

  • Conservation opportunity;
  • conservation planning;
  • inter-disciplinarity;
  • multiple-criteria analysis;
  • research–implementation gap;
  • social research

Abstract

Restoration and conservation initiatives, such as the eradication of invasive alien plants, should be guided by scientific evidence. Typically, ecological data alone is used to inform the decision-making of these initiatives. Recent advances in the mapping of conservation opportunity include a diverse range of scientifically-identified factors that determine the feasibility and likely effectiveness of conservation initiatives, and include, for example, data on the willingness and capacity of land managers to be effectively involved. Social research techniques such as interview surveys, phenomenology, and social network analysis are important approaches for securing useful human and social data. These approaches are yet to be widely adopted in restoration initiatives, but could be usefully applied to improve the effective implementation of these initiatives. Restoration and conservation planners will deliver spatial prioritisations which provide more effective and cost-efficient decision-making if they include not simply ecological data, but also data on economic, human, management, social and vulnerability factors that determine implementation effectiveness.