I believe the key to effective conservation actions is strategic planning from the outset. Sadly, due to limited time, financial resources and opportunities it is impossible to conserve everything we would like. Through the use of techniques borrowed from fields such as economics and decision theory, we can prioritise our conservation actions to achieve the greatest benefit from limited resources. My current and past projects include:
Incorporating risk of military and civil conflict into spatial conservation planning in Africa
Click here for open access paper in Nature Communications
If the risk of conflict is ignored when making conservation decisions, implemented conservation actions will have a high risk of failure. Opting to entirely avoid conflict-prone areas will minimize risk, but this strategy may mean avoiding areas of high biodiversity, meaning that from a conservation standpoint it may perform less well than ignoring conflict risk altogether. However, portfolio theory has taught us that risks of failure can be mitigated by carefully selecting between options based upon desired targets and associated risk of failure. By incorporating risk of military and civil conflict into reserve planning, meeting conservation targets is possible while accounting for risk, and with minimal increase in financial outlay.
Seabird population monitoring
Click here for open access paper in PLOS One
Working in collaboration with colleagues from the University of British Columbia I have been involved in demonstrating the decline in seabird populations during the post-industrial era. We are now in the process of developing a monitoring strategy designed to rapidly detect the most declines of most concern.