Our September 2022 issue’s special section on capacity for conservation is the culmination of the Capacity for Conservation Conference held in the UK in 2019. As outlined in the accompanying Editorial by Mark O’Connell & Marianne Carter, who helped curate the issue, the collection of 14 articles in this section reflects on four key thematic areas of conservation capacity development. The Briefly section also spotlights news from around the world on capacity building. The lead article by Appleton et al. asks how should conservation be professionalized? They offer a new definition that characterizes conservation professionals as practitioners who act as essential links between conservation action and conservation knowledge and policy, and provide seven recommendations for building a more effective, inclusive and representative profession. The issue also includes a host of conservation news articles and book reviews!

Find out more about this issue’s content, including our Editor’s picks, below:

Capacity for conservation

  • How should conservation be professionalized? – Appleton et al.
  • A framework for conceptualizing leadership in conservation – Webb et al.
  • A systems framework for planning and evaluating capacity development in conservation: recommendations for practitioners – Porzecanski et al. (see blog post here)
  • What makes conservationists persevere? Resilience strategies at work – Loffeld et al.
  • Professional development in conservation: an effectiveness framework – Loffeld et al. (see blog post here)
  • Beyond skills and knowledge: the role of self-efficacy and peer networks in building capacity for species conservation planning – Bruyere et al.
  • Evaluating the impact of the first 10 years of the Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership – Sandbrook et al.
  • Using a theory of change to evaluate the impact of a conservation training programme: a practitioner’s perspective – Gerrie et al. (see blog post here)
  • The state of capacity development evaluation in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management – Sterling et al. (see blog post here)
  • Donor perspectives on strengthening capacity development for conservation – Santy et al.
  • Capacity and leadership development for wildlife conservation in sub-Saharan Africa: assessment of a programme linking training and mentorship – Abu-Bakarr et al. (see blog post here)
  • Assessing national-level provision of conservation capacity building: lessons learnt from a case study of Kenya – O’Connell et al.
  • Strengthening capacity for species conservation in South-east Asia: a provisional assessment of needs and opportunities for the Asian Species Action Partnership –Chao et al. (see blog post here)
  • Capacity development challenges and solutions for Natura 2000: an approach through blended learning – Campagnaro et al.

Behind the cover

The breadth and complexity of the skills, knowledge and resources required to achieve collective conservation goals have grown markedly. As a result, identifying, prioritizing and funding the development of conservation capacity is now one of the most pressing and significant conservation challenges. This issue of Oryx focuses on this theme, with 14 articles covering a range of matters, including the professionalization of conservation, leadership, and the evaluation of training. On the cover, Nino Mikadze and Tamar Mikadze, citizen inspectors, monitor poaching along the Rioni River in Georgia. As part of their training with Fauna & Flora International, Nino, Tamar and other citizen inspectors learnt how to detect, document and report illegal fishing. For the capacity for conservation theme, see here. (Photograph © Kakha Gogichashvili/Fauna & Flora International)


Capacity development for conservation Mark O’Connell & Marianne Carter

‘The challenge to build sufficient conservation capacity to deliver effective, timely nature protection at the scale needed is significant. There is increasing recognition that collaborative investment in all these areas needs to be made to facilitate urgent and critical conservation actions, but also to sustain the positive impacts from these. This collection of papers demonstrates there is a good understanding of the task ahead, and increasing evidence to support many of the approaches being taken. To ensure a future for life on our planet, we now need to multiply efforts to harness holistic, diverse engagement, secure adequate resources and enable the supportive, connected networks necessary to increase and strengthen capacity for effective delivery of conservation impact.’

Participants sharing what they learned from each other at a workshop. Photo: Nadav Gazit CBC/AMNH. See Sterling et al.’s blog post here.

Editor’s picks

  1. How should conservation be professionalized? – Appleton et al.
  2. Evaluating the impact of the first 10 years of the Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership – Sandbrook et al.
  3. Donor perspectives on strengthening capacity development for conservation – Santy et al.
  4. Using citizen science to study a mesocarnivore: the jungle cat Felis chaus in Sri Lanka – Miththapala et al. (see blog post here)

Other content

  • Estimates of carnivore densities in a human-dominated agricultural matrix in South Africa – Faure et al.
  • Using citizen science to study a mesocarnivore: the jungle cat Felis chaus in Sri Lanka – Miththapala et al. (see blog post here)
  • Surveys of the Angolan coast uncover the largest olive ridley sea turtle nesting population in the Atlantic and the largest non-arribada population globally – Morais & Tiwari (see blog post here)

Researchers, protected area staff, and students consider course proposals at a workshop in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Photo: A. Porzecanski. Read Porzecanski et al.’s blog here.

Conservation news

  • Conservation Leadership Programme 2022 Team Awards announced – Tointon
  • Sedentarization of the striped hyaena Hyaena hyaena in Dghoumes National Park, Tunisia – Mellane et al.
  • Rediscovery of the striped hyaena Hyaena hyaena in the central High Atlas after 22 years – El Alami et al.
  • Successful ex situ conservation of Salvia daiguii Xiao et al.
  • Little time left to conserve the Asiatic cheetah – Parchizadeh & Belant
  • The road home for Przewalski’s horse in China – Ji et al.
  • Protecting Przewalski’s gazelle – Cai et al.
  • Using the precautionary principle to halt mining and save the Endangered Andean cat in Chile – Villalobos et al.

Book reviews

Grants and opportunities

  • The Conservation Leadership Programme Team Awards 2023
  • Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership
  • The Rufford Small Grants Programme

Participants from the Durrell Endangered Species Management course in 2019. Photo: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Read Gerrie et al.’s blog here.

Header photo: Participants in the Colorado State University and United States Forest Service International Program’s Protected Area Seminar develop hands-on experience managing wilderness areas. Photo: Center for Protected Area Management. Read Porzecanski et al.’s blog here.

Emma joined the Oryx team in 2018, having previously completed a BSc in Geography at the University of Sussex and an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. She has a keen interest in marine conservation and has experience working on sea turtle, coral reef, and tropical fish monitoring projects. Her previous research includes an ethological study on the impact of human enrichment on the welfare of captive giant Pacific octopus, and an investigation into the barriers to increased conservation involvement in European zoos.