We followed a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to examine the foundations, current approaches, and key requirements of cross-realm planning. Over three workshops, our team of authors included people with extensive on-ground experience in management and policy. The main output is an operational framework for integrated cross-realm planning that extends current thinking in conservation science. We aimed to close the gap between research, planning, and implementation through the direct participation of decision-makers in the framework’s design and application.
Our study contributes significantly to the real-world application of cross-realm planning as evidenced by the direct contribution of conservation practitioners as co-authors on this paper. Our paper presents the views of these decision makers regarding the need for and ways to undertake applied cross-realm planning, rather than the typical academic examination. In this regard, we present a framework that, while founded on up-to-date science, is accessible to decision makers, recognises their needs for decision-support, and is currently being used by them to advance real-world planning across realms.
The framework was developed based on the knowledge and needs of managers and policy makers actively involved in planning. The framework provides the step-wise detail that decision makers require, but often find missing, when implementing planning and management. To further guide planners in navigating the complex decision-making process when planning across realms, we have included Supplementary Material that provides a detailed explanation of each planning component and how it was applied in a real-world planning process.
Álvarez-Romero, J. G., Adams, V. M., Pressey, R. L., Douglas, M., Dale, A., Auge, A., Ball, D., Childs, J., Digby, M., Dobbs, R., Gobius, N., Hinchley, D., Lancaster, I., Maughan, M., Perdrisat, I., 2015. Integrated cross-realm planning: a decision-makers’ perspective. Biological Conservation: doi.10.1016/j.biocon.2015.07.003
Abstract: Pursuing development and conservation goals often requires thinking and planning across terrestrial, freshwater and marine realms because many threats and social-ecological processes transcend realm boundaries. Consequently, effective conservation planning must consider the social and ecological links between realms and follow a cross-realm approach to allocate land/water uses and conservation actions to mitigate cross-realm threats and maintain cross-realm ecological processes. Cross-realm planning requires integrating multiple objectives for conservation and development, and assessing the potential co-benefits and trade-offs between them under alternative development scenarios. Despite progress in cross-realm planning theory, few fully-integrated and applied cross-realm plans exist. The gaps between research and implementation are not unique to cross-realm planning, but are accentuated by the complexity of spatial decision-making entailed. Based on a collaborative process including scientists, resource managers and policy-makers, we developed an operational framework for cross-realm planning based on up-to-date thinking in conservation science, but offering practical guidance to operationalise real-world planning. Our approach has a strong theoretical basis while addressing the visions and needs of decision-makers. We discuss the foundations and limitations of current approaches in cross-realm planning, describe key requirements to undertake this approach, and present a real-world application of our framework.