On their own, empirical studies and traditional reviews do not offer the robust syntheses that managers and policy makers require to make evidence-based decisions and evidence-informed policy. Similar to the evidence-based revolution in medicine, the application of formal systematic review processes has the potential to invigorate the field of behavioral ecology and accelerate the uptake of behavioral evidence in policy and management.
Systematic reviews differ from traditional reviews and meta-analyses in that their methods are peer reviewed and pre-published for maximum transparency, the evidence base is widened to cover work published outside of academic journals, and review findings are formally communicated with stakeholders. This approach can be valuable even when the systematic literature search fails to yield sufficient evidence for a full review or meta-analysis; preparing systematic maps of the existing evidence can highlight deficiencies in the evidence base, thereby directing future research efforts. To standardise the use of systematic evidence syntheses in the field of environmental science, the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) created a workflow process to certify the comprehensiveness and repeatability of systematic reviews and maps, and to maximise their objectivity. We argue that the application of CEE guidelines to reviews of applied behavioural interventions will make robust behavioural evidence easily accessible to managers and policy makers to support their decision-making, as well as improve the quality of basic research in behavioural ecology.