Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Little evidence conservation organizations respond to economic signals

05.11.2014

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.

Whitney Heins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tennessee.edu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>