Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Little Evidence Conservation Organizations Respond to Economic Signals

06.11.2014

Research finds little evidence of responsiveness to economic conditions by conservation nonprofits.

A University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study finds that nonprofit organizations aiming to protect biodiversity show little evidence of responding to economic signals, which could limit the effectiveness of future conservation efforts.

The study is published this week in the academic journal Ecology and Evolution and can be read at http://bit.ly/1t8fT24 .

The relationship between economic conditions and conservation efforts is complicated. On the one hand, funding for conservation depends on a booming economy, which swells state coffers and increases membership dues, service revenues and philanthropic giving.

On the other hand, economic growth is often perceived by conservationists as a threat to habitats and ecosystems because of more demand for raw materials and increased development, waste and pollution. Conservation organizations must balance these two conflicting forces.

"Employment, the stock market, a recession—they are all assumed to impact how conservation organizations do their work. But it is all talk and no data," said Peter Kareiva, chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy. "This is the first study I know that actually used hard-nosed analysis to find out how conservation organizations change their behavior, or not, in response to economic shocks."

Nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy play a critical role in managing society's overall investment in biodiversity. In the U.S. alone, nonprofit organizations channel billions of dollars into efforts to conserve species and ecosystems. How effectively they manage these revenue streams depends on how well they cope with changes in the wider economy.

"Just as species have to evolve strategies to cope with feast and famine conditions in their environment, conservation nonprofits need to come up with strategies to deal with times of economic growth and recession if they are to achieve their conservation goals effectively," said Eric Larson, lead author of the study.

To find out just what strategies the nonprofits were using, the team examined conservation nonprofits' tax filings over a 10-year period that included a period of rapid growth as well as the 2008 recession.

What surprised them was how little evidence there was of responsiveness to economic conditions by these organizations.

"Conservation scientists pride themselves on developing strategic tools to help organizations prioritize ways to spend conservation funds. But as soon as we broaden the focus a bit to consider whole-organizational behavior, we see little evidence of strategy. Instead what we see is a sector that looks very much like it is just trying to muddle through," said Larson.

The authors also interviewed nonprofit leaders about organizational strategies. Their answers emphasized just how different conservation nonprofits are in how they try to deal with changing conditions. But once again, the researchers did not find that organizations employ orderly, proactive strategies to deal with changes in the economy. As one interviewee said, "In theory, we approach these issues strategically … but in practice … we're very opportunistic."

Larson and coauthors hope their findings encourage conservation nonprofits to plan for and respond to fluctuations in the economy effectively, and inspire other researchers to investigate how the economy affects conservation organizations and biodiversity itself.

Contact Information
Whitney Heins
Science Writer
wheins@utk.edu
Phone: 865-974-5460

Whitney Heins | newswise
Further information:
http://www.utk.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single-photon detector can count to 4

18.12.2017 | Information Technology

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms

18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water

18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>