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A new way to manage conservation

A best practice framework employed by thousands of successful businesses worldwide has been adapted by two members of the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) to help conservation managers improve their consideration, analysis and management of the programs for which they are responsible.

In a paper published by the international journal Conservation Biology, Dr Simon Black and Dr Jim Groombridge have proposed that an understanding and application of their adapted framework, now known as the Conservation Excellence Model, will enable: greater clarity in goal setting; more-effective identification of job roles within programs; better links between technical approaches and measures of biological success; and more-effective use of resources.

The model could also improve how a conservation program’s effectiveness is evaluated and may be used to compare different programs – for example, during reviews of project performance by sponsoring organisations.

Dr Black, a conservation biologist with experience in organisational and management development, said: ‘The conservation sector is traditionally overstretched and remains relatively underdeveloped in terms of management thinking. At the same time, there is an increasing expectation that conservation programs should pay their way.

Consequently, conservation practitioners and charities need to demonstrate that genuine achievement in conserving species or habitats is occurring and that their efforts are seen as value for money. We feel that it is important to lead and manage a program in a way that enables people working on the ground to make a difference to the species or habitats with which they are involved.

‘The model we are offering will enable managers to think about which results should be analysed and on which work activities they should focus their efforts in order to achieve the best long-term outcomes.’

Dr Black is also Director of the DICE EARTH Centre, an innovative training and consultancy hub that provides support to the global conservation community. This includes: conservation, management and leadership training; organisation design and program assessment; and program improvement methodologies.

Gary Hughes | alfa
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