Guidelines and Recommendations

Guidelines and Recommendations

Robin J.A. Sharp (European Sustainable Use Specialist Group of IUCN-SSC, UK), Julie A. Ewald (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK) and Robert Kenward (Anatrack Ltd, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch021
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Abstract

Policy guidelines and recommendations were derived from direct and indirect sample surveys of stakeholders in most European Union countries and some others and from related analytical work. They call for rationalisation of the high level environmental assessment systems in Europe, greater sharing of data derived from them, more research into the information needs of stakeholders, especially local stakeholders, who take key decisions about the environment, recognition of the value of participation in biodiversity-related activities by ordinary users of the countryside, promotion of citizen capability to use electronic mapping tools for biodiversity monitoring and management, analysis of the links between land-use changes and success in biodiversity conservation, and support for progress towards a comprehensive decision-support system via an internet portal providing a one-stop site for ideas and knowledge.
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The Role Of Guidelines Derived From A Scientific Research Project

TESS was a scientific research project. This means that among other things it strove to be objective and rigorous in gathering and analysing information. It benefited from financial resources provided by the organs of the European Union and the cultural richness which comes from collaboration among a range of European research institutions. At the same time the project was constrained by formal requirements to follow programmes of work prepared long in advance, which do not allow for “adaptive management.”

When the object of study is not the behaviour of a restricted number of animals or plants in a laboratory but, in effect, the 500 million strong population of Europe, the challenge to achieve rigour and objectivity is all the greater. Much of the work in TESS was about exploring the capacity and willingness of ordinary people using or managing land to record scientific information in a way that will assist their decisions and those of others to be more favourable for conserving wildlife. This encompasses farmers and gardeners, as well as those who hunt or fish, walk in the countryside or enjoy observing nature.

Asking relevant questions either directly or through representatives is subject to a range of limitations such as possible misunderstanding of what is intended on the part of the respondent or their lack of knowledge or reluctance to take seriously “yet another survey” whose relevance is obscure to them. Nevertheless TESS has done its best, within quite modest human and financial resources, to conduct its enquiries on the same basis in over 130 randomly sampled local communities in 27 European countries, as well as carrying out 10 local case studies involving direct socio-economic surveys and experimental mapping by non-experts.

One of the keys to the success of the Pan-European surveys was the network of Country Co-ordinators developed by the European Sustainable Use Specialist Group of IUCN/SSC during the previous GEMCONBIO-UNWIRE study. This network provided a combination of translation skills with expertise in the subject of the questionnaires and was crucial in persuading local communities and land managers to participate. This relatively inexpensive methodology appears to be fairly unusual or perhaps even pioneering, at least in the general area of science in which we have been operating.

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