Organising evidence for environmental management decisions: A '4S' hierarchy

Lynn V. Dicks, Jessica C. Walsh, William J. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Making decisions informed by the best-available science is an objective for many organisations managing the environment or natural resources. Yet, available science is still not widely used in environmental policy and practice. We describe a '4S' hierarchy for organising relevant science to inform decisions. This hierarchy has already revolutionised clinical practice. It is beginning to emerge for environmental management, although all four levels need substantial development before environmental decision-makers can reliably and efficiently find the evidence they need. We expose common bypass routes that currently lead to poor or biased representation of scientific knowledge. We argue that the least developed level of the hierarchy is that closest to decision-makers, placing synthesised scientific knowledge into environmental decision support systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-613
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume29
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Environmental decision-making
  • Environmental management
  • Evidence
  • Evidence-based conservation
  • Information
  • Policy
  • Practice

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