Conservation and restoration in peopled landscapes in Oceania: Opportunities and challenges

© 2018 CSIRO. While the role of humans in causing high rates of species extinctions worldwide is well established, philosophies and opinions as to how to mitigate the current biodiversity loss are once again hotly debated topics. At the centre of the debate are differences in opinions regarding the value and the best methods of conserving and restoring biodiversity in peopled landscapes. Here we synthesise information from different case studies from Oceania that demonstrate how biodiversity conservation in peopled landscapes will require different, and often novel, socio-ecological approaches. We draw special attention to the importance of prioritising human dimensions in the conservation of different ecosystems, ranging from highly modified urban areas to largely intact wilderness areas. Particularly, we explore the importance of understanding motivations to conserve biodiversity, implementing well designed conservation actions, both socially and ecologically, and involving different stakeholders in the design and implementation of conservation projects. On the basis of our synthesis, we suggest that conservation in peopled landscapes in Oceania offers great opportunities for community involvement, including traditional landowners, in all aspects of conservation planning and implementation. Where uncertainties regarding the suitability of established management strategies exist, novel guidelines should be based on the best available ecological and social evidence to avoid potential negative outcomes.