Conservation programs often fail. With so many factors to consider it’s no surprise. In an ecosystem and an environment there is complexity. Problems with management, funding, and unforeseen circumstance makes both large and small groups stumble in their efforts.

The first and major issue is with the creation of Goals. Goals can be unclear, unrealistic, unattainable, or unreachable. Some goals are made for funding and therefore are far too vague to bring any true success or results. If the goal fluxgates, then the goal itself gets in the way.

Another big issue is funding. It’s a balance of gaining enough for funds, but also spending them wisely. Large organizations often fail in this regard. They have enough status and donors to reach their funding goal, but spend the money inadequately. So attaining the goal doesn’t always mean that its effects will be fully felt or beneficial. Smaller organizations can fumble with both reaching and spending their funds with fewer connections and less attention. Only 12% of the U.S. conservation efforts are receiving as much as their plans dictate. Most conservation efforts deal in short term funding. This means that programs are funded perhaps only five or a year out. It’s difficult to create an outlay or a time scale when you are unsure the amount of time your money can support.

Sometimes conservationists plan their projects on assumptions, one of the most common is thinking that the local population is nothing but harmful to the biodiversity. Another common misnomer is the community of locals themselves –their complexities and inter-workings. This can lead to tension between the team and locals. New areas are lined out as protected and the locals turn hostile when their movement becomes restricted and they are not compensated. When they do not benefit, they ignore the rules.



Indiana University has looked at some of the problems with conservation and has settled on how it is done. They lead with the fact that one plan will not work. A “regulatory blueprint” as they frame it, will not work for every situation. But, they suggest a flexible framework to go by. They suggest getting to know and involve the locals. They are the truly unpredictable factor because of their effects on the environment. Managing resources is one of the overarching parts of conservation, getting with a local expert can be helpful.

The first part of their framework involves resources, what they are, how many, who allocates them, and what is allocated. They look at the broader variables. The second part delves into the first part deeper asking how fast resource production is, the regulations or lack there of, the size and location, and how the resources are valued by the local population.


This framework allows for the plan to be modified without being scrapped entirely. It allows for its use to be applicable in almost all circumstances. This is more of the first part of conservation, the gathering of information, coming up with a goal, and deciding on a plan of action. The site does not offer anything more and does not consider the other factors in motion, such as personal or budgeting. This merely addresses one of the issues of conservation.



CC BY-SA 4.0 Why Conservation Fails by Anna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Whitlee 1 year ago

    I like that you mentioned unrealistic goals. Goals in conservation can be so hard to follow, or even think of. Things can be so unpredictable, and ever changing. I also like that you brought up the big part of funding. Funding is an unsteady area. I’d love to see more on Conservation!

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