Assessing and advancing conservation effectiveness

In order for our research to have the greatest impact, we strive to link our science to societal needs. We believe that wildlife research should be integrated with monitoring and management, such that potential management decisions are represented as hypotheses to be evaluated with predictive models and tested with monitoring data. An integrated cycle of prediction, monitoring, and testing can be used to optimize decision-making, for instance in regulating harvest or restoring degraded habitats. Researchers in WildCo seek to work collaboratively with government, industry, local communities, and other partners on long-term research that supports efforts to balance competing demands on landscapes and ecosystems. Examples include developing wildlife-habitat models for application to land-use planning, and testing wildlife responses to land-use decisions.
Our research also evaluates the effectiveness of protected areas, which represent a fundamental conservation strategy around the world. Many parks face mounting pressure due to increasing isolation and human impact, and there is a need to improve park effectiveness by detecting threats and identifying successful mitigations that work for both parks and people.  Our research seeks to assess the ability of parks to effectively conserve threatened species and communities, evaluate the outcomes of management strategies in and around parks (including community-based conservation), and anticipate broad-scale threats to park networks in the face of global change.