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Biodiversity Risks of Adopting Resilience as a Policy Goal.

Newton, A., 2016. Biodiversity Risks of Adopting Resilience as a Policy Goal. Conservation Letters, 9 (5), 369-376.

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Newton-2016-Conservation_Letters.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1111/conl.12227


Resilience is increasingly being incorporated into environmental policy at national and global scales. Yet resilience is a contested concept, with a wide variety of definitions proposed in the scientific literature, and little consensus regarding how it should be measured. Consequently, adoption of resilience as a policy goal presents risks to biodiversity conservation, which are considered here in relation to three categories: (1) ambiguity, (2) measurement difficulty, and (3) misuse. While policy makers might welcome the ambiguity of resilience as a concept, as it provides flexibility and opportunities to build consensus, the lack of clear definitions hinders evaluation of policy effectiveness. Policy relating to resilience is unlikely to be evidence-based, as monitoring will be difficult to implement. Vague definitions also provide scope for misuse. This is illustrated by the case of European forests, where resilience is being used as a justification to promote management interventions that will negatively affect biodiversity. To address these risks, there is a need for standard definitions and measures of resilience to be developed for use in policy. Furthermore, there is a need for guidelines, standards, and identification of best practice in relation to resilience policy, to ensure that its implementation does not contribute to biodiversity loss.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:23317
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:22 Mar 2016 11:30
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:55


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