Decision-making in conservation science, 2021 AAAS meeting

AAAS 2021 Annual Meeting Flyer

Arizona State University will be co-hosting this year’s 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting, February 8-11. During the live virtual meetings, the ASU community will be presenting over 20 sessions and 43 papers, many of them featuring our sustainability scientists and scholars.

Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and School of Public Affairs Assistant Professor Derrick Anderson will facilitate a session titled “The Art of Bringing Evidence to Decision-Making in Conservation Science”. This session will take place on Thursday, February 11, 3:00-3:45 p.m. MST.

Many scientists working in conservation aspire to contribute “actionable science” to conservation practice. Yet, much of conservation science involves filling “knowledge gaps.” This is problematic because the linear or ‘deficit’ model of science communication is rarely relevant in supporting research-informed decision-making.

Instead, actionable science for conservation must enable decision-makers to explore tradeoffs and estimate consequences (including ecological, economic and social) of choices.

Gerber and Anderson will present a conceptual framework for linking conservation knowledge to action and describe an approach to integrate demand-driven science with technical tools such as decision analysis.

They will then present results from a large-scale empirical study of best practices associated with the production of actionable science emerging from interviews of leading conservation scientists.

For conservation science generally and individual researchers, in particular, to become agents of change in addressing conservation challenges, the reward model, resource allocation and culture of scientific organizations will have to shift toward supporting and prioritizing actionable science.

Their analyses provide useful guidelines for conservation researchers and practitioners who are interested in producing actionable science.

A video library of pre-recorded Spotlight Videos, AAAS E-posters and Sci-Mic Podcast galleries are available in the AAAS Virtual Platform.

Learn more.