Richard B Primack et al. 2021
Abstract: The human aspect of conservation and restoration is implicit and widely considered in the literature. However, human traits are rarely if ever incorporated into models to explain actual quantitative measures of success or failure. A paper by Sher et al. recently published in a special issue of Wetlands filled this gap by exploring the impact of the characteristics of managers and managing organizations on restoration success among 243 sites where an invasive tree had been removed. Among the 15 human variables considered were how many agencies were involved in the project, the relative priority of particular goals, how intensive monitoring was, and what type of degree the manager had. Given that Sher et al. found that as much as 63% of the variability in restoration outcomes could be explained by such human factors alone, we argue that future studies seeking to understand conservation and restoration outcomes would do well to incorporate such variables in a more explicit way. Quantitative inclusion of the human element can expand our understanding of the processes at work and test theories regarding the importance of goal-setting and other often proposed recommendations about process and project organization. Given that to do so requires an interdisciplinary approach, we also make a case that greater integration between the social and natural sciences will improve our understanding of these systems and lead to better results.