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Learning Question 4

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.

Do positive changes in stakeholders' behaviors lead to a reduction in threats to biodiversity (or restoration)?

The assumption in the theory of change posits that those participating in the conservation enterprise interventions are the right participants, and that the behaviors they modify will in fact reduce threat on the biodiversity focal interest.

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.


  • Failure to properly identify target participants in an enterprise can jeopardize its effectiveness at reducing the threats to biodiversity.14,15 Careful selection of participants that are involved in the specific threat-inducing behaviors (e.g., hunting, logging) is key. For example, engaging women, young, or elderly household members in a specific enterprise, such as raising small livestock, could provide household income, but may not reduce hunting threats if men are the primary hunters.
  • Even when the appropriate participants are engaged, the scale of the enterprise or the number of participants involved must be sufficient in order to have the intended effect on reducing threats.8,14,15
  • In some cases, external threats are much greater than internal threats, which minimizes the potential overall reduction of threats to biodiversity through an enterprise approach alone.15
  • Illegal activity by outsiders (external threats) can sometimes be deterred by enterprise participants simply spending more time and being more present in the project site.7,14
  • As resource condition improves and benefits to participants increase, external threats to revoke resource rights, increase extractive activities, or change ownership regimes may also increase, which may in turn reduce benefits to participants.2,7,10,13
  • Measuring the effects of participants’ behavior changes on the reduction of internal and external threats is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of the enterprise. Threat reduction as a result of other interventions, such as improved law enforcement, might need to be considered.
  • An ecotourism project in the Peruvian Amazon showed that direct vs. indirect participation is important to threat reduction. Members who worked at the ecotourism lodge invested less in shifting agriculture and hunting. However, indirect participation in ecotourism, such as selling goods and services to guests, may not have the same effect. The impact on conservation was positive for those who worked at the lodge directly, but more ambiguous for those who benefited from the lodge indirectly.19

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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