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Title: Improving the impact of amphibian conservation
Author: Meredith, Helen Miriam Rosemary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 0869
Awarding Body: University of Kent and Zoological Society of London
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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Enhancing efforts to conserve amphibians will help ameliorate a sixth mass extinction event. In this thesis, I analyse current perceptions of success in amphibian conservation, and review the quantity and content of conservation-related scientific studies with a view to improving conservation impact. Achieving and measuring success is dependent on the way success is defined. Perceptions of success among practitioners and scientists were predominantly associated with improving the status of target species and habitats; specifically stabilising or increasing population trajectories. However, respondents with fewer years of experience view the human dimensions of conservation – such as public education, engagement, and capacity building – to be increasingly more important in defining success. This may have repercussions for interdisciplinary conservation action in the future. Secondly, the availability of relevant literature is crucial for science-based and accountable decision-making. Amphibian research is not meeting conservation needs, particularly in terms of threatened species, prevalent threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation, and studies relevant to conservation management. Improving the impact of conservation action requires the effectiveness of interventions to be tested in diverse contexts. Evidence is unrepresentative geographically, with just 10% of all studies conducted in the tropics, and there is also a deficiency for threatened species. Available evidence is unrelated to the number of amphibian conservation scientists per country. Threat mitigation studies for certain stressors (pollution, exploitation, climate change) is very limited or non-existent, and education and engagement initiatives are poorly represented, restricting understanding of the social dynamics of amphibian conservation. This limits what can currently be deduced about effective conservation practice. An expert assessment of global evidence found that over half of conservation interventions are ineffective and/or harmful, or effectiveness is unknown due to limited evidence. My findings indicate clear directions for future conservation-related research: social aspects of amphibian conservation require greater attention; research should be made more relevant to conservation objectives, focusing on neglected species, threats and approaches to conservation practice; developing increased global collaboration and capacity building is crucial to addressing knowledge gaps, as is generating the necessary funding opportunities; and a culture of evidence-based conservation should be promoted. Improving amphibian conservation impact will require a paradigm shift to enhance interdisciplinary action, increase innovation, and enable this cause to be understood and supported globally by conservation agencies, policy-makers, and funding bodies. This can be achieved through targeted and coordinated action from existing global networks in amphibian conservation science and practice.
Supervisor: Griffiths, Richard A.; St John, Freya; Collen, Ben Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available