Conservation research can be key to making effective conservation policies, but only when the policymakers are trained to understand and critically analyse its findings. In this article, Andrea D. Phillott highlights numerous resources that can help educators train students – future conservationists – in the use of evidence-based conservation. Phillott is a Professor in Environmental Studies and teaches Conservation Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Studies at FLAME University, Pune.
To address this gap, there are a number of online resources that educators can use to develop the core skills in EBC in their students (see Figure 1). A recent paper by Harriet Downey et al. (2021) describes open-access materials on the website Applied Ecology Resources. Lectures notes and slide decks on evidence-based conservation for researchers and decision-makers, planning and designing experiments to improve conservation practice, performing systematic reviews and meta-analyses, using and generating evidence to improve conservation translocations, and use of the Conservation Evidence database are complemented by practical exercises for students to complete.
The Conservation Evidence database allows users to search its content by taxa, habitat, threat, action, country or keyword/s to find summaries of scientific studies, including background information and context, the conservation action(s) taken and their consequences. The studies are drawn from >330 English journals, >300 non-English journals, and grey literature. The authors of the summaries are part of the Conservation Evidence project based at the University of Cambridge, UK. Helpful videos demonstrate both how to use the website and evidence in making conservation decisions, and also gives an overview of the process for producing a synopsis of conservation evidence similar to those published on the website.