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Learning Question 2

by Portal Web Editor last modified May 23, 2017 04:08 PM
USAID Natural Resource Management and Development Portal
USAID Natural Resource Management and Development Portal

User Guidance:

Users are encouraged to add new content directly to these wiki pages. Please provide a source for all your additions (including personal experiences, anecdotes, quotations, document references, etc.). Please note your source in parentheses following your added content. For source documents, grey or peer-reviewed, please provide a full citation. Facilitators will convert your source information into endnotes and move them to the reference list. To suggest major revisions or the removal of existing content, please use the comment section. Following group discussion, facilitators will implement agreed-upon changes to the page.

Does the enterprise lead to benefits for stakeholders?

The assumption behind supporting conservation enterprises is that, if the donor-funded intervention supports enabling conditions and the creation of enterprises, then participants will receive cash benefits from participation in those enterprises.

Note: Superscript numbers indicate references at the bottom of each page, where links to many of these documents can be found. We are still in the process of uploading references to the documents page. Please contact us if you’d like a copy of a reference that hasn't yet been posted.

Note: Italicized text denotes findings discussed during events such as webinars and conferences.


  • Cash benefits accrued by communities have been limited:2,10,13 just 7 of the Biodiversity Conservation Network-supported enterprises made a profit during the program period of 1990-1999. Of the 37 total enterprises for which the Biodiversity Conservation Network (BCN) had usable financial data, four did not have revenues, three had minimal revenues, 13 covered only their variable costs, and ten covered their variable and fixed costs.13
  • Supporting the enabling conditions for enterprises results in important noncash benefits to participants, such as community pride, improved knowledge, governance, or resource use rights.5,6,13,21
  • Enterprise approaches may need to be supplemented by awareness-raising, law and policy development, improved enforcement of regulations, and/or other strategies at the site13,14 in order to generate benefits.
  • Many conservation enterprises that are dependent on in situ biodiversity must cope with seasonality and variable, often long, production cycles. This can mean that participants may need income before revenue and profits can be generated by the enterprise.11,13,14
  • To understand the effectiveness of conservation enterprises, we need to measure the extent to which enabling conditions for the enterprise have been met and how these conditions support the generation of cash and noncash benefits for participants.
  • Sustainability of the enterprise is hinged to benefits to stakeholders.18

  • In Uganda, non-monetary benefits included less crop raiding and improved relationships with protected area staff. Communities’ report higher yields in cassava and corn due to the decrease in crop raiding by elephants which are deterred by the chilis.20

Documents Referenced

  1. Anderson, Jon, Mike Colby, Mike McGahuey, and Shreya Mehta. Nature, Wealth, Power 2.0: Leveraging Natural and Social Capital for Resilient Development. USAID/E3/Land Tenure and Resource Management Office. 2013.
  2. Anderson, Jon and Shreya Mehta. A Global Assessment of Community Based Natural Resources Management: Addressing the Critical Challenges of the Rural Sector. Washington D.C.: United States Agency for International Development. 2013.
  3. Andersson, Meike, Sara Scherr, Seth Shames, Lucy Aliguma, Adriana Arcos, Byamukama Biryahwaho, Sandra Bolaños, James Cock, German Escobar, José Antonio Gómez, Florence Nagawa, Thomas Oberthür , Leif Pederson, and Alastair Taylor. Case Studies: Bundling Agricultural Products with Ecosystem Services. Ecoagriculture Partners. 2010.
  4. App, Brian, Alfons Mosimane, Tim Resch, and Doreen Robinson. USAID Support to the Community-Based Natural Resource Management Program in Namibia: LIFE Program Review. Washington D.C.: United States Agency for International Development. 2008.
  5. Boshoven, Judy, Benjamin Hodgdon, and Olaf Zerbock. Measuring Impact: Lessons Learned from the Forest, Climate, and Communities Alliance. Washington D.C.: United States Agency for International Development. 2015.
  6. Boudreaux, Karol. Community-Based Natural Resources Management and Poverty Alleviation in Namibia: A Case Study. Mercatus Center, George Mason University. 2007.
  7. Clements, Tom, Ashish John, Karen Nielsen, Chea Vicheka, Ear Sokha, and Meas Piseth. Case Study: Tmatboey Community-based Ecotourism Project, Cambodia. Ministry of Environment, Cambodia and WCS Cambodia Program. 2008.
  8. Hecht, Joy and Arthur Mitchell. Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) Performance Evaluation. Washington D.C.: United States Agency for International Development. 2014.
  9. Koontz, Ann. The Conservation Marketing Equation: A Manual for Conservation and Development Professionals. Washington D.C.: EnterpriseWorks/VITA. 2008.
  10. Lessons on Community Enterprise Interventions for Landscape/Seascape Level Conservation: Seven Case Studies from the Global Conservation Program. Washington D.C.: EnterpriseWorks/VITA. 2009.
  11. Patel, Hetu, Sara Nelson, Jesus Palacios, Alison Zander, and Helen Crowley. Case Study: Elephant Pepper: Establishing Conservation-Focused Business. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society. 2009.
  12. Pielemeir, John and Matthew Erdman. Performance Evaluation of Sustainable Conservation Approaches in Priority Ecosystems Project. 2015. (forthcoming)
  13. Salafsky, Nick, Bernd Cordes, John Parks, and Cheryl Hochman. Evaluating linkages between business, the environment, and local communities: final analytical results from the Biodiversity Conservation Network. Washington D.C.: Biodiversity Support Program. 1999.
  14. Torell, Elin and James Tobey. Enterprise Strategies for Coastal and Marine Conservation: A Review of Best Practices and Lessons Learned. Narragansett, Rhode Island: Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island. 2012.
  15. Wicander, Sylvia and Lauren Coad. Learning our Lessons: A Review of Alternative Livelihood Projects in Central Africa, IUCN and ECI, University of Oxford. 2014.
  16. Martinez-Reyes, Jose E. Beyond Nature Appropriation: Towards Post-Development Conservation in the Maya Forest. Conservation and Society 12 (2). 2014.
  17. Hill, Megan, Natalie Dubois, Shawn Peabody. Conservation Enterprises: Exploring their Effectiveness [Webinar]. USAID Conservation Enterprise Learning Group Webinar Series. 2016.
  18. Environment Officers’ Conference Session Summary: Launching a Cross-Mission Learning Agenda on Conservation Enterprises. 2016.
  19. Booker, Francesca, Dilys Roe, Megan Hill. A Conversation with Dilys Roe and Francesca Booker [Webinar]. USAID Conservation Enterprise Learning Group Webinar Series. 2016.
  20. Senkungu, Robert, Judy Boshoven, Ashleigh Baker. Setting up for Success: Enabling Conditions for Conservation Enterprises [Webinar]. USAID Conservation Enterprise Learning Group Webinar Series. 2016.
  21. Russell, Diane, Judy Boshoven. Conservation Enterprises: Using a Theory of Change Approach to Synthesize Lessons on the Effectiveness of Interventions [Webinar]. USAID Conservation Enterprise Learning Group Webinar Series. 2014.

Learning Activities: Missions will share their experience and learn about best practices in building the enabling conditions for establishing a successful and sustainable enterprise. We propose to support this activity through a review and synthesis of existing publications on best practices for each of the enabling conditions of most interest to Missions and their implementing partners. The findings from the review will also be the topic for a discussion with the Learning Group. Missions may share their experience through the online platform, webinar presentations, and through facilitated email discussions.

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