Conservation in a wicked complex world; challenges and solutions

Game, Edward T., Meijaard, Erik, Sheil, Douglas and McDonald-Madden, Eve (2013) Conservation in a wicked complex world; challenges and solutions. Conservation Letters, 7 3: 1-7. doi:10.1111/conl.12050

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Author Game, Edward T.
Meijaard, Erik
Sheil, Douglas
McDonald-Madden, Eve
Title Conservation in a wicked complex world; challenges and solutions
Journal name Conservation Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1755-263X
Publication date 2013-07-30
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/conl.12050
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Most conservation challenges are complex and possess all the characteristics of so called “wicked” problems. Despite widespread recognition of this complexity conservationists possess a legacy of institutional structures, tools and practices better suited to simpler systems. We highlight two specific challenges posed by this mismatch: the difficulty of adaptive management where success is ambiguous and the tension between “best practice” and creativity. Drawing on research in other disciplines (including psychology, information systems, business management, and military strategy) we suggest practices that conservation could consider to better respond to complexity. These practices include, defining clear objectives, the use of scenarios, emphasis on pattern analysis, and ensuring greater scope for creative and decentralized decision making. To help illustrate these challenges and solutions, we point to parallels between conservation and military operations.
Keyword Adaptive management
Best practice
Complex systems
Conservation success
Decision theory
Wicked problems
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 30 JUL 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 20 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 23 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 04 Dec 2013, 14:31:24 EST by Ms Eve Mcdonald-madden on behalf of School of Biological Sciences