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Conservation by Design: A call to action

We envision a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfil our needs and enrich our lives.

Conservation by Design is a call to action – a call to use science, collaboration, and the experience and action of the broad conservation community to help transform the relationship between people and nature.

The fate of nature and the fate of people are tightly bound.  Today, as society struggles to provide enough energy, food, water and other resources to sustain a growing population, solutions are often found at nature’s expense.  Resources are depleted, habitats are degraded, and invaluable plants and animals are lost to extinction.  The Nature Conservancy strives to break this vicious cycle  instead – and to create a virtuous cycle.  Only by transforming the relationship between people and nature can both nature and people thrive.

Conservation by Design is our unified approach across the diversity of systems, cultures, geographies and communities in which we engage. It has guided us in identifying what to conserve and where and how to conserve it, and in measuring our effectiveness. It articulates our conservation vision and marries our collaborative, science-based approach with key analytical methods.

In 2016 we updated Conservation by Design with a refreshed, 20th anniversary edition in which, we introduced three analytical advances that are broadly useful across the spectrum of our activities: evidence-based assessment, situation analysis, and strategy and opportunity mapping.

Evidence-based assessment: To capture and act on the best available knowledge from all sources, we use evidence-based assessments to review existing knowledge throughout the Conservation by Design adaptive management cycle.

Situation analysis: A situation analysis describes the context in which we hope to create conservation outcomes and facilitates the identification of the most pressing challenges facing nature and people.

Strategy and opportunity mapping: Strategy and opportunity mapping allows us to simultaneously assess strategies and places when deciding where and how to work.

These analytical advances can be brought into projects at any stage to enhance the connections between people and nature and to improve conservation outcomes.  We apply science to all areas of our work – whether continuing our work in northern Australia to combat climate change or restoring and conserving Australia’s great southern seascapes through our marine program – and at all scales, from local to global.

To learn more about Conservation by Design in action and read some case studies that illustrate how these advances play out in real contexts, click here.