You are here: Home Blog Archive Evidence-based management: …

Evidence-based management: insights from countries across Europe

Last year, I had the pleasure to gain deeper insights into approaches towards evidence-based management in other countries than Germany. In August 2016, I attended the first international conference of the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE). Personally, I took home lots of new insights and inspiration as input for the next months. Below, I introduce the major organizations that I got to know at the conference.

In Stockholm, where the conference took place, the Mistra Council for Evidence-based Environmental Management (EviEM) has its secretariat (Director: Sif Johansson). EviEM is funded by The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) and financially independent. Its aim is to strengthen the scientific basis of policy decisions. In most cases, the council conducts systematic reviews on topics that have been suggested by stakeholders during meetings with Mistra EviEM. The thematic scope of the reviews is environmental research. Below some titles of systematic reviews that will be (are) completed:

"How does manipulation of dead wood affect forest biodiversity?",

"How is biodiversity influenced by the management of forest set-asides?"

"How does tillage intensity affect soil organic carbon (SOC)?"

Mistra EviEM closely works together with CEE. This non-profit collaboration evolved from the Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation (CEBC) which is led by Professor Pullin from Bangor University, UK. CEE is represented by a network of centres which can be found in France, Sweden and several other non-European countries. These national offices provide know-how in review methodology to interested reviewers, engage in awareness raising and assist in the identification of review questions. Once conducted, CEE offers to publish systematic reviews in its open-access journal Environmental Evidence.

Yet another source of information for the efficacy of interventions in environmental management is Conservation Evidence. It was established by Professor Sutherland (University of Cambridge, UK) and is funded, among others, by the British Ecological Society, the Natural Environment Research Council and Natural England. Conservation Evidence offers open access to a searchable database, synopses and a journal with the same name to inform about conservation methods. Similarly to Mistra EviEM, conservation evidence provides collected knowledge but no specific advice because this can depend on the situation on ground.

One may doubt that reviews can influence decision-making. In fact, the study of Walsh et al. (2015) suggests that this is the case. Conservation managers changed their attitude about the efficacy of selected interventions after having read a synthesis of the available evidence (Walsh et al., 2015).

To conclude, the above introduced organizations employ various strategies to facilitate evidence-based management. Some of these strategies might stimulate thoughts how to further improve knowledge translation in Germany.

Reference: Walsh, J. C., Dicks, L. V. and Sutherland, W. J. (2015), The effect of scientific evidence on conservation practitioners’ management decisions. Conservation Biology, 29: 88–98. doi:10.1111/cobi.12370

by Fabian Gutzat (D2)