Milena Kim will be presenting her PhD completion seminar at 11am: “’The human dimensions of species-based prioritisation: a case study from Queensland”

When: Friday 4th October 2013; 11:00 to 12:00 hrs

Where: Building 34, Room 124, JCU, Townsville (maps)

Conservation planning initiatives have been subjected to limited evaluation. In the last 20 years, many prioritisation methods and the outputs of prioritisation have been adopted by organisations such as governments and NGOs. However, there is very limited information on whether these organisations uptake priorities defined via conservation planning initiatives to inform their investments in conservation activities.

Milena‘s research evaluated the uptake of a species-based prioritisation framework adopted by the Queensland government (Australia), the Back on Track. She interviewed people working for government at national, state and local levels, regional natural resource management organisations, the representatives of Indigenous groups, environmental groups and industry to understand whether they used the list of priorities identified using the Back on Track process to inform their investments. Results show that a few potential users have used the Back on Track plans to guide investment in conservation activities. However, they used the Back priorities in a limited way (mostly to inform funding applications) and several interviewees identified concerns in relation to the prioritisation process.

In this pioneer study, she also identified a number of factors affecting the uptake of priorities by potential users. Some factors relate with how potential users perceived the planning and decision-making processes of prioritisation and the quality of the planning outputs. For example, potential users of conservation plans were concerned about who participated in the identification of priorities (e.g. scientists, potential users and other stakeholder groups) and about other normative aspects of the planning process (e.g., whether the process was transparent, flexible and participants were treated fairly). They were also concerned with the technical quality of conservation plans and the relevance of such plans to the conservation activities they develop. Even though such perceptions were important in defining whether people uptake priorities, participants were further constrained in their ability to invest in priorities by a number of structural factors, including: the relative power of interest groups; political changes; the level of centralisation in decision-making; and the relative strength of alternative priorities.

In her seminar, Milena will discuss these results in relation to other conservation planning initiatives and will offer suggestions to increase uptake of priorities identified via prioritisation. The results of her research will be soon available in the peer reviewed literature.

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