The identification of priority policy options for UK nature conservation

William J. Sutherland, Steve D. Albon, Hilary Allison, Sue Armstrong-Brown, Mark J. Bailey, Tom Brereton, Ian L. Boyd, Peter Carey, Joan Edwards, Maggie Gill, David Hill, Ian Hodge, Alexander J. Hunt, Will J. F. Le Quesne, David W. Macdonald, Laurence D. Mee, Roger Mitchell, Tim Norman, Roger P. Owen, David ParkerStephanie V. Prior, Andrew S. Pullin, Michael R. W. Rands, Steve Redpath, Jonathan Spencer, Chris J. Spray, Chris D. Thomas, Graham M. Tucker, Andrew R. Watkinson, Andy Clements

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    P>1. The conservation of biodiversity depends upon both policy and regulatory frameworks. Here, we identify priority policy developments that would support conservation in the UK in the light of technological developments, changes in knowledge or environmental change.

    2. A team of seven representatives from governmental organizations, 17 from non-governmental organizations and six academics provided an assessment of the priority issues. The representatives consulted widely and identified a long-list of 117 issues.

    3. Following voting and discussion during a 2-day meeting, these were reduced to a final list of 25 issues and their potential policy options and research needs were identified. Many of the policies related to recent changes in approaches to conservation, such as increased interest in ecosystem services, adaptation to climate change and landscape ecology.

    4. We anticipate that this paper will be useful for policy makers, nature conservation delivery agencies, the research community and conservation policy advocates.

    5. Although many of the options have global significance, we suggest that other countries consider an equivalent exercise. We recommend that such an exercise be carried out in the UK at regular intervals, say every 5 years, to explore how biodiversity conservation can best be supported by linked policy development and research in a changing world.

    6. Synthesis and applications. Opportunities for policy development were prioritized and for each of the top 25 we identified the current context, policy options and research questions. These largely addressed new issues relating to developing topics such as ecosystem services, landscape planning and nanotechnology. We envisage that this will largely be used by researchers wishing to make a contribution to potential policy debates.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)955-965
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


    • conservation
    • horizon scanning
    • planning
    • policy
    • practice
    • priority setting
    • research
    • CARBON


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