Integrating decision triggers into conservation management practice

Kelly de Bie, Prue F.E. Addison, Carly N. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Decision triggers show great potential for facilitating timely management action, promoting evidence-based management and preventing undesirable changes to the status of species, ecosystems and threats. Integration of decision triggers into day-to-day management practice has been slow, constrained by insufficient resources and limited in-house expertise. Arguably, the greatest impediment is the lack of an overarching process with robust and accessible methods for developing and implementing decision triggers in a manner that fits within an organization's established processes and skill sets. We identify the steps necessary for setting decision triggers and highlight how these steps align with commonly used conservation planning and management frameworks, for ease of adoption. We emphasize that decision triggers do not require a known ecological threshold, and can be applied to data-rich and data-poor contexts, with single or multiple management objectives. Synthesis and applications. This work highlights the necessary steps involved, and importantly, the suite of methods that can be used to set decision triggers, with the aim of supporting practitioners in the development of robust and defensible decision triggers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • adaptive management
  • conservation planning
  • decision triggers
  • decision-making
  • environment
  • evidence-based management
  • management practices
  • monitoring
  • proactive management
  • thresholds

Cite this