Week 6 exercise

Review of hedgehog conservation strategy

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For this exercise, I reviewed the 'Conservation Strategy for West-European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in the United Kingdom (2015-2025)', which was produced by the People's Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society: https://ptes.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Conservation-strategy-for-the-hedgehog-in-the-UK-2015-2025-v2.pdf

Strategy aims (pg. 3) and Aims (pg. 10)

Strengths:

  • The scope has been identified (towns and cities in all counties of the UK).
  • The biodiversity target result has been set (stabilised population of hedgehogs).

Weaknesses: 

  • There is no SMART objective set for the biodiversity target result. The end date is 2025, but we don't know how the project team defines a stabilised population (e.g. what percentage increase? compared to what point in time?), there are no upper/lower tolerances, and it's not clear what the indicator is.
  • There are two aims for the project, with the second aim (for rural areas) described as: "To understand and demonstrate the ecological parameters underpinning viable rural hedgehog populations by 2025." This aim does not have a biodiversity target result and seems to be more research-related rather than focused on direct conservation impact.

Threats and limiting factors (pg. 5)

This section of the strategy summarises the current threats to hedgehog populations in the UK, including the factors driving these threats and the ecological effect of each threat.

Strengths:

  • Direct threats have been identified.
  • The summary also shows where little/no research has been undertaken, which helps to indicate confidence and identify knowledge gaps for a possible research agenda.

Weaknesses:

  • Many of the drivers are behaviours, but the summary does not identify groups of people.
  • 'Climate change' has been listed as a threat, but there is no explanation of what is specifically impacting on hedgehog populations, just "Anthropogenic CO2 emissions" and "extreme weather events" (temperature? rainfall?).

Objectives (pgs. 10-17)

The project's work packages are listed here as "objectives".

Strengths:

  • The stakeholders (or "key partners") have been identified, where relevant.
  • Each work package has a priority assigned.
  • There are short-term targets identified for each work package.

Weaknesses:

  • The work packages have been grouped under headings (e.g. Monitoring, Habitat, Mortality, Public engagement and training), but it's not clear what the intervention points are or how each work package will contribute to the desired impact of the project.
  • It's also not clear how the priority of each work package has been determined.
  • Most of the work packages are focused on collecting and disseminating information. For example, in cases where a target audience has been identified (e.g. farmers; the general public), there is an emphasis on one-way provision of information, advice or guidance, rather than understanding the group better and working towards behaviour change. It's unclear how much conservation impact this will have. The strategy could be improved with greater adherence to the principles of 'Keep it wild', 'Listen to the people' and 'Think big'.
  • There is insufficient information on how the project team will monitor their efforts to assess whether or not they're successful.

 

Miki Tillett

Digital Communications Volunteer, WildTeam UK

I've been a Digital Communications Volunteer with WildTeam UK since May 2019 (and really enjoy it!). My day job is in e-learning, designing digital training courses for corporate clients, but I'm aiming to switch careers and apply my communication skills to the world of conservation. I'm based in Sheffield, UK, but have experience of working remotely.
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Comments

Go to the profile of Beth Robinson
4 months ago

Ace work Miki, an A* for sure! I like how you've set this out clearly under different subheadings and have strength and weakness for each point. You've managed to bring in many different elements of SDWC which demonstrates that you understand it well.