Conservation conversations: a typology of barriers to conservation success

Sanders, Michele Jeanette; Miller, Laura; Bhagwat, Shonil A. and Rogers, Alex (2021). Conservation conversations: a typology of barriers to conservation success. Oryx, 55(2) pp. 245–254.



Despite considerable achievements in the field of conservation, biodiversity continues to decline and conservation initiatives face numerous barriers. Although many of these barriers are well known, for example insufficient funding and capacity, there has been no systematic attempt to catalogue and categorize them into a typology. Because risks compromise the conservation mission, any barrier to success is a risk. Here we present the first attempt at identifying key barriers. We analyse extensive interviews with 74 conservationists, primarily from Africa but with international experience, to identify potential risks to their projects and use that information to create a typology of barriers to conservation success. We draw on the literature to explain the prevalence of some of the barriers identified. We suggest that this typology could form the basis of heuristic tools that conservationists can use to identify and manage potential risks to their projects, thereby improving decision-making, strategic planning and, ultimately, overall impact. The typology is also useful for the conservation community (comprising conservationists and funders) to help implement better practices and improve the likelihood of success. We present examples of such work already underway and suggest more can be done to continue to improve.

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