Biodiversity is the foundation for our economy and wellbeing. Our work includes biodiversity and public health, business practices and economic development, policy and governance, climate change and adaptation, food systems, social and behavioral change and risk assessment.
We produce insights that transform the way the world values, manages and thinks about biodiversity. By bringing together producers of knowledge with consumers of knowledge, we enable research leading to use-inspired solutions.
We continuously evaluate and adapt ourselves to improve the efficacy and application of our actionable science model, serving as a scalable model that other organizations can tailor and implement around the world. We adopt a strategic and nimble approach to co-produce our research agenda, based on knowledge demands from our partners.
Our goal is to protect biodiversity. More specifically, we aim to generate the following outcomes:
Biodiversity is central to decision-making. Achieved by transforming conservation investment, risk assessment and sustainable practices into effective and transparent processes.
A new generation of conservation leaders represents a diverse and global community. Achieved by training diverse and underrepresented students, facilitating experiential career advancement opportunities and identifying and closing gaps in the curriculum – specifically in strategic leadership and environmental communication.
Actionable and collaborative science provides effective solutions for reducing biodiversity loss. Achieved by harnessing approaches such as structured decision making to co-produce decision support frameworks and practical and pragmatic tools for achieving conservation outcomes.
How we work
Our approach embraces key elements of structured decision-making.
To achieve the objectives we continually consider how our research approach and activities work to achieve our goals. First, we work with partners to identify conservation decision needs and possible solutions. We then use data and evidence synthesis to identify the possible outcomes of alternative solutions. Finally, we work with partners to study how implementing solutions affect biodiversity outcomes, and in doing so build our knowledge base about what works in conservation.
Our research approach focuses on three intertwined and overlapping areas:
Evidence, metrics and monitoring
Generating empirical support for measuring impact and evaluating outcomes, training and capacity building for what evidence is and how to use it.
Decision science and data tools
Creating tools to support evidence-based decisions, working with decision-makers on defining needs for knowledge and decision-making structures (e.g. engaging with businesses) and research into how to translate knowledge into action.
Examples of biodiversiy outcomes
The following graph illustrates how we apply structured decision-making to achieve examples of outcomes in biodiversity conservation.
We study ourselves
As we implement this actionable science model, we continuously evaluate and adapt ourselves to improve our approach, increase its success rate and serve as a scalable model that other institutions can apply across the globe.
Our goal through this project is to gain a better understanding of the determinants of actionable science in conservation. While there has been exponential growth in conservation research, much of this science fails to be translated into practice and policy. Numerous solutions have been proposed to bridge this knowledge-action gap, yet it persists.
This project is part of an initiative titled “Language for Sustainability: Sustaining biodiversity and biocultures,” sponsored by the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is partnering with the ASU Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center to integrate big data in biodiversity decision-making.
Arizona State University researchers working on this Center for Biodiversity Outcomes sponsored project collaborate with Future Earth’s Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society to collect and analyze data from local stakeholders on the collaborative governance process for stewardship and use of ecosystems.
The Conservation Solutions Lab employs an evidence-driven interdisciplinary approach to bring knowledge of what works to conservation and development practitioners to advance effective and equitable engagement of communities in conservation programs. CSL is a collaborative initiative led by a unique partnership between the Arizona State University Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and Chemonics International.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is working with Bayer to develop a decision-making tool to enable them to estimate the range of potential operational, reputational, legal and regulatory risks associated with compliance with the U. S. Endangered Species Act.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is developing programs that provide basic literacy in the environment and ecological sustainability, with a particular focus on engaging underserved youth.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is developing a decision-making tool to enable the Electric Power Research Institute to estimate the range of potential operational, reputational, legal and regulatory risks associated with compliance with the U. S. Endangered Species Act.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes has partnered with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a tool to compare different funding allocation strategies for actions to recover endangered species. This tool is called the Endangered Species Recovery Explorer. This work was motivated, in part, by recognition from USFWS of past critiques of its recovery allocation process.
This project seeks to organize a community of practice, comprised of human rights and fisheries experts and practitioners, to catalyze the systematic integration of social responsibility into seafood supply chains.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is working with several partners to bring together biodiversity data from multiple sources and create new methods to integrate the data into corporate decision-making.
The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is a member of the Plastic Pollution Emissions Working Group. PlasticPEG, who is supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, is developing a global model that will estimate the efficacy of varying marine plastic pollution intervention strategies.
Business impacts and depends on biodiversity, either directly through its operations or indirectly through supply chains. Measuring and valuing these impacts and dependencies can help to understand and uncover some potentially unseen business risks and opportunities. The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is leading a project to develop a biodiversity supplement for the Natural Capital Protocol.
The Natural Capital Protocol for the Oceans will be a framework to help businesses answer questions such as: How does your business depend upon ocean resources? How is this ocean natural capital changing and what risks and opportunities does this present? Which resources, information or expertise do you need?
This research seeks to answer, “How much does it cost to achieve a conservation outcome?” The project consists of three primary objectives: (1) create a web-based decision support tool to allow users (e.g. mid- to senior-level government, foundation, and NGO staff) to explore tradeoffs between investment choice and biodiversity loss and use this information to inform national and international funding decisions; (2) amalgamate and synthesize estimates of conservation investment globally to allow comparison of conservation budget needs with actual expenditure; and (3) compile conservation cost and benefit data using evidence synthesis methods, and develop guidelines to enable these data to be standardized across projects.