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New methods for cost-effective conservation decision making

Supervisors: Professor William SutherlandDr Silviu Petrovan

Project summary:

There is considerable interest in determining the effectiveness of conservation interventions (Sutherland and Wordley 2018), but in deciding which to adopt it is important to also determine the costs. A framework has just been created (Iacona et al in press), but has yet to be widely used. This studentship will create a novel framework for conservation decision making based on cost effective actions.

The project will work closely with the evidence team here and with practitioners and policy makers.  

What the student will be doing:

Of course, as with any good studentship, the hope is that ideas evolve. This is presented as a possible approach.

Write review of the literature on the assessment and use of costs in conservation.

Use literature and expert opinion to assess costs (agricultural interventions are the easiest to start with as well qauntified). Combine with existing measures of effectiveness.

Assess optimal cost effectiveness in different areas.

Examine how the inclusion of cost changes how practitioners and policy makers assess the evidence.


Sutherland, W.J. and Wordley, C.F. (2018) A fresh approach to evidence synthesis. Nature. 558, 364-6.

Iacona, G.D., Sutherland, W.J., et al In press. Standardized reporting on the costs of management interventions for biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology.