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Use of a Business Excellence Model to Improve Conservation Programs

Black, Simon A., Groombridge, Jim J. (2010) Use of a Business Excellence Model to Improve Conservation Programs. Conservation Biology, 24 (6). pp. 1448-1458. ISSN 0888-8892. (doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01562.x) (KAR id:27501)


The current shortfall in effectiveness within conservation biology is illustrated by increasing interest

in “evidence-based conservation,” whose proponents have identified the need to benchmark conservation

initiatives against actions that lead to proven positive effects. The effectiveness of conservation policies, approaches,

and evaluation is under increasing scrutiny, and in these areasmodels of excellence used in business

could prove valuable. Typically, conservation programs require years of effort and involve rigorous long-term

implementation processes. Successful balance of long-term efforts alongside the achievement of short-term

goals is often compromised by management or budgetary constraints, a situation also common in commercial

businesses. “Business excellence” is an approach many companies have used over the past 20 years to

ensure continued success. Various business excellence evaluations have been promoted that include concepts

that could be adapted and applied in conservation programs. We describe a conservation excellence model

that shows how scientific processes and results can be aligned with financial and organizational measures of

success. We applied the model to two well-documented species conservation programs. In the first, the Po’ouli

program, several aspects of improvement were identified, such as more authority for decision making in the

field and better integration of habitat management and population recovery processes. The second example,

the black-footed ferret program, could have benefited from leadership effort to reduce bureaucracy and to

encourage use of best-practice species recovery approaches. The conservation excellence model enables greater

clarity in goal setting, more-effective identification of job roles within programs, better links between technical

approaches and measures of biological success, and more-effective use of resources. The model could improve

evaluation of a conservation program’s effectiveness and may be used to compare different programs, for

example during reviews of project performance by sponsoring organizations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01562.x
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 16:36 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Black, Simon A..

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Groombridge, Jim J..

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