Evaluating impact using time-series data

Hannah S. Wauchope*, Tatsuya Amano, Jonas Geldmann, Alison Johnston, Benno Simmons, William J. Sutherland, Julia P. G. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Humanity's impact on the environment is increasing, as are strategies to conserve biodiversity, but a lack of understanding about how interventions affect ecological and conservation outcomes hampers decision-making. Time series are often used to assess impacts, but ecologists tend to compare average values from before to after an impact; overlooking the potential for the intervention to elicit a change in trend. Without methods that allow for a range of responses, erroneous conclusions can be drawn, especially for large, multi-time-series datasets, which are increasingly available. Drawing on literature in other disciplines and pioneering work in ecology, we present a standardised framework to robustly assesses how interventions, like natural disasters or conservation policies, affect ecological time series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-205
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number3
Early online date10 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Before-after-control-intervention
  • Longitudinal data
  • Counterfactual
  • Interrupted time series
  • Causal inference
  • Difference in differences


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