Impact evaluation for nature conservation
in a changing world

Organized by: Caterina Cosmopolis del Carpio, University of Sheffield, UK; Tanya O’Garra, Middlesex University, UK; Johanna Eklund, University of Helsinki, Finland

The current biodiversity crisis requires effective policies and interventions that lead to positive impacts on biodiversity. Counterfactual approaches (e.g., propensity score matching, instrumental variables, randomised controlled trials, etc.) can generate robust and causal information about the environmental and social impacts of conservation interventions, providing crucial insights into what works (or does not work). These methods are well established and used in other disciplines such as economics and medicine; however, they are still rarely applied in nature conservation. This symposium aims to present the most recent advances concerning impact evaluations of different conservation interventions (e.g., ranging from terrestrial and marine protected areas to biodiversity offsets, and community-based species conservation programs). This will be achieved by (1) providing insights into different approaches to evaluating environmental and social impacts, (2) discussing the strengths and limitations of these different approaches, and (3) exploring the factors that influence conservation outcomes and how they vary between different conservation interventions. The symposium will bring together seven researchers from diverse backgrounds and provide a platform for discussion on methods and best practices, future research needs and priorities, and how they can be used to achieve biodiversity conservation goals.

Presentations
A counterfactual approach to evaluating the effectiveness of biodiversity offsets – Case study of the Ambatovy mine in Madagascar
Katie Devenish (Bangor University, United Kingdom)

Protected areas have a mixed impact on waterbirds, but management helps
Julia P. G. Jones (Bangor University, United Kingdom)

Impacts of community forest managed areas on deforestation and forest fragmentation during a political crisis in Madagascar
Rachel Neugarten (Cornell University, United States)

Assessing the impact of protected areas on biodiversity and the role of experimental design
Jonas Geldmann (Center of Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Does protected area establishment result in pre-emptive forest clearing? Exploring the case of Madagascar’s protected area system expansion
Jorge Llopis (Bangor University, United Kingdom)

Effects of protected areas on biodiversity occurrence trends – a country-wise multi taxon evaluation
Andrea Santangeli (Helsinki University, Finland)

Forest and poverty: Hidden contributions of forest to multidimensional poverty
Caterina Cosmopolis-del-Carpio (The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom)