Conservation action planning in Australia

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This week’s feature research article has just been published in Ecological Management and Restoration and presents a review of the use of conservation action planning (CAP) in Australia, by some of the country’s leading practitioners. CAP is now used across a wide variety of environmental and social contexts across Australia, including the Southern Yorke Peninsula (Naturally Yorke), the west coast of Eyre Peninsula (WildEyre) and the southern Flinders Ranges (Living Flinders). A modified version (Healthy Country Planning) of this planning approach has also been used for planning on Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs). This review highlights some of the strengths and limitations of the CAP approach to conservation planning, and describes some of the lessons learnt through the history of its application in Australia. CAP is deliberatively collaborative in its approach, focusing on bottom-up planning that incorporates the knowledge and values of local stakeholders from a very early stage. While there is also a focus on goal-based planning and adaptive management, the proponents suggest that this is often limited by the capacity of CAP groups to adequately resource the monitoring and evaluation required to adequately review and adapt strategies captured in a planning process. Conceptually, CAP provides a structure for the development of clear goals, and strategies to achieve these, that are locally relevant. As is often the case, the application of these concepts requires leadership and resources to be successful. The article can be downloaded here.