Edited by Andrew Pullin, Bangor University, United Kingdom
In the past few decades there has been a growing understanding of the role animal behavior research can play in improving the effectiveness and success of conservation management programs. Animal behavior can help us understand and predict the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on wildlife populations, can be used as a tool in conservation interventions, and can serve as a powerful indicator of conservation problems.
Overall, the emergent field of conservation behavior (applying animal behavior research to conservation and management) has already contributed to many successful conservation outcomes. Nevertheless, there is tremendous room for improvement and in many cases, we simply do not understand the underlying causes of failures, which prevent us from offering sound and cost-effective guidance on conservation management.
This article collection published in Environmental Evidence represents a collective push towards creating a sound and reliable evidence base for conservation behavior mechanisms and interventions. Conceived during a systematic review training workshop, we hope that this collection of protocols and evidence syntheses will illustrate the power of the systematic review model for reducing bias, and rigorously evaluating evidence for and against the uses of conservation behavior. We also hope that the special issue will highlight some areas where animal behavior research can be effectively used to improve conservation success. In doing so, we offer a commitment to practitioners that we as scientists are striving for more transparent methods, communication and awareness of where our recommendations are actually useful.