In a recently published paper, members of the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG) discuss the continued global decline of species, and the need for new ideas, methods, and tools to fight the increasing number of extinctions. They then present their proven approach to effective species conservation planning that adheres to 7 core Principles and 8 key Steps. These processes have been proven to improve the conservation status of a species, with planning workshops catalyzing partners to effectively work together to save species.

The essential elements in the development and implementation of effective species conservation plans can be illustrated as a tree. The Principles represent the “roots” of the tree, providing a solid foundation for the planning process:

(Byers et al., 2022)

Central to these principles is a commitment to the One Plan Approach, which is the “collaborative development of management strategies and conservation actions by all responsible parties to produce one comprehensive conservation plan for the species, whether inside or outside its natural range.” This approach ensures that the full suite of skills, expertise, and resources are mobilized into one comprehensive conservation plan, setting the stage for success.

The “leaves” of the tree represent the planning Steps. More flexible in nature, these may vary depending on the needs of the project and can evolve over time to meet the increasing complexities of wildlife conservation challenges:

  • Prepare to plan
  • Define success
  • Understand the system
  • Decide where to intervene
  • Agree on how to intervene
  • Specify what is to be done
  • Prepare to implement
  • Share, learn, and improve

As CPSG’s Canada Regional Resource Center, the Canadian Species Initiative, a joint endeavor of Wildlife Preservation Canada and African Lion Safari, promotes and applies these Principles & Steps and the One Plan Approach in Canada, thus expanding CPSG’s global Planning Capacity. These globally recognized processes can help us to identify the best available management options for our native species, and ensure we continue to safeguard Canada’s rich biodiversity.

Jaclyn Franceschini

Species Conservation Planning Assistant – Canadian Species Initiative

Jaclyn’s interest in conservation biology began with a love of the outdoors. She has spent the last few years studying freshwater and marine environments and is passionate about fish ecology. She has worked on projects studying freshwater fish (including yellow perch, northern pike, walleye, and round gobies), as well as marine species (swordfish, bluefin tuna, and common dolphins). She recently joined WPC’s Canadian Species Initiative as the Species Conservation Planning Assistant.