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Table 5 Article inclusion and exclusion criteria, summarised from the protocol [15] with practical considerations adopted during screening to increase clarity and consistency in the application of the criteria

From: Absence of evidence for the conservation outcomes of systematic conservation planning around the globe: a systematic map

Screening criteria Relevant Irrelevant Practical clarifications
Subject Inclusive of all countries and marine, freshwater and terrestrial realms
Studies published between 1983 and 2017
Global-scale plans
Studies published prior to 1983
Studies conducted at continental or smaller scales were included
Intervention Systematic conservation planning: a process for locating and implementing conservation actions where: (a) the benefits of conservation actions are specified either as threshold amounts of natural features to be represented or as continuous functions with increasing amounts of features; and (b) the outputs are one or more optimal or near optimal sets of spatially-bounded conservation actions
This means that plans will necessarily use existing (e.g. Marxan [17], C-Plan [20] and Zonation [19]) or custom-made (e.g. linear/non-linear programming, genetic algorithms) decision-support tools in the ‘spatial prioritisation’ stages
Studies relating to plans that have no explicitly stated (or quantifiable) biological conservation objectives
Studies relating to plans that were solely expert-based approaches
Studies that do not involve the use of computerised decision-support tools
Studies were included if they approximated the stages of systematic conservation planning in Fig. 1 (e.g. plans did not have to have been implemented), and involved stakeholder engagement, quantifiable conservation objectives, and a spatial prioritisation exercise
Outcome Studies measuring changes in the condition of one or more of the following forms of capitals: natural, financial, social, human and institutional (either quantitatively or qualitatively)
Broad interpretation of outcomes to capture the breadth of intended and unintended outcomes and potential flow-on consequences for biodiversity conservationa
Outcomes that are not attributed to a systematic conservation planning process Studies were included if they reported on changes in the condition of one or more types of capital, as a result of a systematic conservation planning.
Comparator Comparisons over time (continuous or interrupted time seriesb), and/or between control and intervention groups and/or sites Studies that measure at a single point in time, with no comparison to another site Opinion-based assessments were excluded
Study design Retrospective quantitative and qualitative experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental designs according to Margoluis et al. [82] Theoretical studies, prospective models, or studies using only ex-post modelling to estimate business as usual versus future planning scenarios were excluded, as were studies based on researcher inference Relevant study designs had to relate to the impact of a conservation action (e.g. baseline monitoring was not necessarily suitable)
To distinguish gap analyses from impact evaluations, studies using measures of representativeness in a gap analysis scenario were excluded
Opinions of the authors or unsubstantiated statements were treated as ‘researcher inference’ and excluded on study design
  1. aA detailed discussion of what constitutes an outcome versus an impact is provided in [16]
  2. bIn an interrupted time series, data are collected at several time points before and after an intervention [92]