Flawed research, inaccessible research outputs, and biased or poor-quality reporting would misguide conservation actions to curb biodiversity

Mohammed Ali-Shtayeh , Rana Jamous , Salam Abuzaitoun
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Scientific evidence is essential to guide effective conservation actions to reduce biodiversityloss. Conservation research resources are often wasted due to flawed studies, inaccessibleresearch outputs, and biased or poor-quality reports. In the State of Palestine, the nationalreports on the Convention on Biological Diversity are the main source on which the nationalbiodiversity strategy and the action plans emanating from it depend, including conservationplans based on sound scientific evidence. We analyzed the studies of plant biodiversitycontained in the Sixth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity issued in2021 by the Environmental Quality Authority (EQA), in order to examine their capacity toenable evidence-informed policy and practice. The analysis was carried out according to thefollowing criteria: the method used to identify the species, the research reporting, the statisticalmethods used, and the results and conclusions. The results of the analysis of studies of plantbiodiversity in the State of Palestine issued from January 2000 to the end of December 2021 inthe State of Palestine, and contained in the aforementioned report, showed that some of themwere flawed research studies, characterized by low quality of scientific evidence and lowreliability of the available data needed to guide action effective conservation to reduce the lossof plant biodiversity in the State of Palestine, which seriously damages the credibility ofofficial national biodiversity reports and the strategies and action plans emanating from them,misleads conservation measures to reduce biodiversity loss, and risks excluding threatenedspecies from public policies for conservation planning. Since the conservation of plantbiodiversity depends on cooperation between stakeholders and on the appropriate use ofevidence and correct data to make decisions that benefit people and biodiversity, polarizationand misinformation hamper and completely disrupt this work. Rather, this handicap directlyharms biodiversity, alienates partners and disrupts partnerships, wastes resources, misleads thepublic, and delegitimizes valid evidence and data. Thus, we suggest that the relevant officialbodies (the Environmental Quality Authority) avoid misinformation through a greatercommitment to biodiversity conservation efforts that raise the role of evidence and correctinformation in decision-making and that place the long-term collective benefits of biodiversityabove the short-term gains for individuals or groups