The 9 Stages of a Community Conservation Project

Our community-based model is comprised of nine social stages. The stages progress as follows:

1. Initial discussions with community leaders and elders about the significance of their natural resources and realistic exploration of benefits that could be gained from conservation when voluntary and participatory (how rare are the species found here? what resources are currently being used by the community? is ecotourism possible? are organic agriculture methods an option in this area?)

2. Informal relationship-building in the community

3. Planning and executing participatory education (such as trainings and workshops)

4. The emergence of local conservation leaders (who often appear though the process of doing the trainings and workshops)

5. These local conservation leaders invoke support from fellow villagers (often, the majority of the village will support the effort)

6. Co-creation of a formal infrastructure and plans (examples: a community forestry area, or a new wildlife sanctuary where ecotourism replaces lost income from resource extraction)

7. The success of the new activities and lessons learned in the initial village spread through local networks of communication (e.g., hearsay; printed information from enlightened schoolchildren to their kin; inviting neighboring communities to visit the project; seminars and public events; informal and formal visits from target community members to other villages)

8. Interest in launching similar projects spreads “horizontally” from the target village to other communities

9. Interest then spreads “vertically” through relationship-building, education, lobbying, and the desire to reproduce the project’s positive results for both the target species/habitats and the local communities (e.g., through governmental, non-governmental, regional, and international entities)

The 9 Stages of a Successful Community Conservation Project: Infographic

Find more useful tools for conservation practitioners on our resources page.

These 9 stages are paraphrased from “Preserving Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Catalyzing Conservation Contagion” written by our founder Rob Horwich and several of his colleagues:

Robert H. Horwich, Jonathan Lyon, Arnab Bose and Clara B. Jones (March 30th 2012). Preserving Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Catalyzing Conservation Contagion, Deforestation Around the World, Paulo Moutinho, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/35435.

Update: Community Trainings in Myanmar

February, 2019

Meeting inspiring people at the training on Field Trip Day

Myanmar is an incredibly biodiverse country, home to many endangered and threatened species.

It recently opened to the world, and many are rushing to have a say in the country’s newly established protected areas.

Now is a critical time to develop a national conservation strategy for Myanmar – and make sure local communities’ values and needs are incorporated into protected area management. We believe that local communities are the solution to conservation problems.

Why do community trainings?
One way to reach the right people across the whole country at once is to hold community conservation trainings, and invite people who live near the country’s protected areasto attend. At the trainings, they learn how to launch their own conservation projects (like setting up community forestry areas).

“Local people in Myanmar recognize that their forests are more than just places to extract food and fuel. They also see the forests as beautiful, biodiverse places worth protecting.”

Dr. Teri Allendorf, UW Madison and Community Conservation

What will be accomplished?
February’s session was the second of a series of three trainings, covering all of Myanmar’s 21 protected areas. The goal is to give people from throughout Myanmar the tools and skills they need in order to manage their resources – which protects the habitats we all value.

Friends of Wildlife Staff

Community Conservation has partnered with local organization Friends of Wildlife to implement these trainings. Their knowledge of the local conservation landscape has been crucial to the project’s success. They said governance and participatory decision-making were important topics to cover, so these were a big focus of this training.

Khine Khine Swe (right) from partner organization Friends of Wildlife with two local leaders.

Attendees from the first training have already launched their own projects to conserve and protect the country’s incredible biodiversity! These two community leaders started a community forest in their village. Our colleageue Khine Khine Swe (right) visited them with Dr. Sansom and Dr. Allendorf to see how things were going.

Community Conservation’s Facebook page has more details, updates and photos from Myanmar.

Thank you to the Conservation, Food, and Health Foundation, the Helmsley Foundation, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and the University of Wisconsin for making this happen.

And thank you to the supporters of Community Conservation for helping us join the supporters of Friends of Wildlife and of this inspiring project!