Implementation strategies for systematic conservation planning

Vanessa M. Adams*, Morena Mills, Rebecca Weeks, Daniel B. Segan, Robert L. Pressey, Georgina G. Gurney, Craig Groves, Frank W. Davis, Jorge G. Álvarez-Romero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The field of systematic conservation planning has grown substantially, with hundreds of publications in the peer-reviewed literature and numerous applications to regional conservation planning globally. However, the extent to which systematic conservation plans have influenced management is unclear. This paper analyses factors that facilitate the transition from assessment to implementation in conservation planning, in order to help integrate assessment and implementation into a seamless process. We propose a framework for designing implementation strategies, taking into account three critical planning aspects: processes, inputs, and context. Our review identified sixteen processes, which we broadly grouped into four themes and eight inputs. We illustrate how the framework can be used to inform context-dependent implementation strategies, using the process of ‘engagement’ as an example. The example application includes both lessons learned from successfully implemented plans across the engagement spectrum, and highlights key barriers that can hinder attempts to bridge the assessment-implementation gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139–152
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • conformance-based evaluation
  • plan implementation
  • planning-implementation gap
  • performance-based evaluation
  • protected areas
  • research-implementation gap

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