DianneHope MorguefileCCDr Fiona Gibson and Dr Abbie Rogers from University of Western Australia’s Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy have identified several key factors influencing the uptake of a decision support tool in conservation policy.

Dr Gibson said Marxan and the Project Prioritisation Protocol were among the decision tools the researchers examined.

“We found that key factors included the alignment of the tool with the objectives and context of a policy, and its ability to be useful even in the presence of missing data,” she said.

“However, two other factors that had been suggested in past literature were not perceived by policy makers to be as important.

“These were the presence of a champion for the decision support tool within the management agency, and the time required to apply the tool.”

Dr Gibson, Dr Rogers and a team of CEED researchers made the findings after compiling a series of structured interviews with policy makers from Australia and New Zealand.

The interviews also revealed additional factors that influenced use or non-use of decision support tools that were not extracted from existing literature.

These included ambiguity about policy objectives, the autonomy of the agency, and the employee time costs of applying the decision support tool.

Reference: Gibson, FL, Rogers, AA, Smith, ADM, Roberts, A, Possingham, H, McCarthy, M and Pannell, DJ. 2017 Factors influencing the use of decision support tools in the development and design of conservation policy. Environmental Science & Policy, 70: 1-8.