Highlights in This Issue
- Did You Know…? Check out our new newsletter section with educational “fact bites” about the work that FOS does
- Update on FOS Strategies and Activities
- Significant Publications from 2006
- Meet the Newest Member of the FOS Team: Guillermo Placci
- Please Give Us Your Feedback
Did You Know…?
Results Chains Can Help You Measure Your Project’s Success
One of the most common questions that arises when conservation practitioners want to know if their project is successful is, “What indicators should I use?” This is such a broad and overwhelming question that many practitioners have no idea where to begin. Before a practitioner even asks that question though, it is important to figure out all the causal linkages between the action taken and the expected impact. Typically, project teams will try to measure their success by counting, for example, how many people they have reached through an environmental education program or by measuring how many hectares of forest are intact. But, how can project teams know if their environmental education program has contributed to maintaining forest coverage? Results chains are a tool that FOS uses to help practitioners determine whether their interventions are actually contributing to their conservation goals. Through results chains, practitioners can be specific about how they think an intervention will influence indirect threats, opportunities, and direct threats and, in turn, whatever they are ultimately trying to conserve. Guidance on results chains, developed by FOS and WWF, is available from our website.
Update on FOS Strategies and Activities
WWF Develops Easy-to-Use Guides and Resources for Project Management
Over the past few years, WWF has been increasingly proactive about helping its staff learn about and use good project management skills – skills ranging from designing and planning a conservation project to monitoring their project’s progress to learning from successes and failures in order to improve current and future projects. In one of its latest efforts to improve project management skills, WWF has been working with FOS to develop short, easy-to-use guides and reference materials for the major project management steps. These materials, available to WWF staff through WWF Connect and to others through FOS’s website, will be continuously updated and are meant to provide WWF staff with a coherent and standard set of resources to help them manage projects in accordance with the WWF Standards of Conservation Project and Program Management. WWF, with assistance from FOS, is also in the process of developing online training modules for the WWF College. These online modules provide detailed guidance on implementing the WWF Standards and are designed to take project staff, step-by-step, through the project management cycle.
TNC and Partners Undertake Planning Processes to Protect and Manage Some of North America’s Most Important Conservation Areas
Over the past year and a half, FOS has worked closely with TNC staff in the Eastern US to help facilitate multi-stakeholder Conservation Action Planning (CAP) processes. These processes, which bring together TNC staff, non-governmental organizations, citizens groups, government agencies (at the local, state, and national level), researchers, and scientists, have been particularly effective at tapping into the the diversity of knowledge, expertise, and experience that the wide range of actors bring. Bythe end of the planning process – which are conducted over a multi-workshop sequence – participants will have identified conservation targets and their direct threats, ranked threats in order to narrow down where the conservation organizations should focus, developed a conceptual model to portray the situation at their site, identified conservation strategies, and develped a monitoring plan. FOS is presently working with TNC and its partners in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed (Eastern NY), the Alleghany Plateau (Western NY), the Allegany Forests (MD), and Lake Ontario (Central NY and Ontario, Canada). For an example of the type of products coming out of these workshops, visit ConserveOnline, under Hudson River Estuary Watershed Conservation Planning.
GEF Develops System to Evaluate Impacts of Its Work Across the Globe
The Global Environment Facility (GEF), established in 1991, has become one of the largest and most important donors supporting developing countries in their efforts to protect the global environment. In recent years, GEF has become increasingly interested in discovering the extent to which the projects it funds are truly contributing to global conservation. To address this concern, FOS staff has been working closely with GEF to develop a theory-based approach to evaluating the impacts of its investments. This approach is also designed to help GEF staff link impacts at the project levels to GEF’s higher level goal to promote global environmental change. Through improved evaluation, GEF will be able to evaluate the long-term results of its interventions, identify lessons learned across its wide-ranging portfolio of projects, and assess the sustainability and replication of its efforts.
The Packard Foundation’s Western Pacific Program Updates Its Coastal Marine Conservation Strategy
FOS is assisting The David and Lucile Packard Foundation in updating and revising its strategy for future support of coastal marine conservation in the Asia-Pacific region. As one of the largest sources of marine conservation funding in the Western Pacific, the Packard Foundation is positioned to significantly influence marine conservation and sustainable use of marine resources in the region. This strategic planning process will help Packard Foundation staff work with their grantees to be clearer about what they are trying to achieve and how they will know if they are on the right track. FOSﾒs involvement in this process follows a program review of the Western Pacific Program it completed in 2005.
WWF Eco-region Teams Improve Project Planning and Management
For the past two years, FOS has been facilitating strategic planning processes with a variety of WWF ecoregions to help teams design, plan, and monitor their conservation projects. These trainings have not only strengthened teamsﾒ skills to think critically in a systematic way, but they have also helped build donor, manager, and team confidence that the teams are clear in what they are trying to do and have strategically chosen their conservation actions. To date, FOS has trained 179 managers from 1 national program 8 ecoregions and 2 thematic programs. The national program and ecoregions include: Lao PDR, Bering Sea, Chihuahuan Desert, East-African Marine, Galapagos, Gulf of California, Meso-American Reef, Southwest Amazon, and Upper Paran￡ Atlantic Forest. The thematic programs include: Asian Rhino-Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS) Program and DGIS-TMF Poverty Reduction through Improved Natural Resource Management.
WWF’s Southwest Amazon Ecoregion Moves Through Project Cycle
For over a year now, FOS has been working with members of WWFﾒs Southwest Amazon Ecoregion team to help refine their adaptive management approach based on the WWF Standards of Conservation Project and Programme Management. The better part of the last year was spent on the Define and Design steps of the WWF Standards ﾖ clarifying biodiversity targets, defining clear goals and objectives, identifying strategic actions, and developing practical monitoring plans. Recently, however, we have begun to ﾓclose the loopﾔ in the WWF Standards project cycle. In particular, FOS has been working with the WWF Southwest Amazon team to harmonize strategies and expected intermediate and long-term results across the 7 projects/sites that make up the Southwest Amazon Ecoregion. Based on this cross site analysis, the WWF team has been able to identify common indicators and data collection methods thus laying the groundwork for effective cross-site communication and learning.
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Strives to Improve the Effectiveness of Its Programs
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the 2,175 mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which extends from Maine to Georgia. In an effort to increase the effectiveness of its programs, the ATC contracted FOS to facilitate a 3-day strategic planning exercise. Participants were able to use the workshop to begin working on their strategic plan and will continue to communicate with FOS staff for feedback as they complete their plan. FOS is also playing an advisory role to the ATC for the design and organization of the Environmental Monitoring Symposium, which will bring together over 70 scientists, natural-resource managers, educators, and policy experts to develop an ambitious monitoring framework for research and applied environmental science along the “Appalachian Trail Mega-Transect.”
Tomorrow’s Leaders Learn How to Plan, Design, and Evaluate Conservation Projects
Training in the adaptive management process is one of the six strategies FOS uses to improve the practice of conservation. A key training audience is “tomorrow’s leaders” (students and young professionals entering the conservation field) – a group that will one day be responsible for managing and safeguarding the world’s biodiversity. In our first formal undertaking of training “tomorrow’s leaders,” FOS teamed up with WWF to provide technical support to students at the University of Maryland to design a curriculum for a graduate course in adaptive management. FOS gave four lectures for a spring seminar and the full course will begin during the 2006-2007 academic year. Students have been excited to learn practical tools and methods for designing, planning and evaluating conservation projects. These skills will help them be more effective as they launch their conservation careers.
Significant Publications from 2006
- WWF Guides for Implementing the WWF Standards of Conservation Project and Program Management – A series of short, easy-to-use guides and reference materials for the major project management steps outlined in the WWF Standards of Conservation Project and Program Management.
- IUCN-CMP Unified Classifications of Direct Threats and Conservation Actions – A unified classifcation system of direct threats and conservation actions produced by the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN)
- Salzer, Dan and Nick Salafsky. 2006. Allocating Resources Between Taking Action, Assessing Status, and Measuring Effectiveness of Conservation Actions (694 kb). Natural Areas Journal, 26: 310-316.
Meet the Newest Member of the FOS Team: Guillermo Placci
FOS welcomes Guillermo Placci to our team. Guillermo started working with FOS in November 2005, bringing a fresh perspective, innate talent, and years of experience to the team. Based in Argentina, Guillermo has been actively involved in training and providing technical assistance to WWF teams in the Southwest Amazon, Gulf of California, and East African Marine ecoregions. Before joining FOS, he founded and directed Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (FVSA)’s Atlantic Forest ecoregion office at Puerto Iguazú. From that position, he coordinated the WWF/FVSA’s Atlantic Forest Conservation Program in Argentina, and during the last year, he also acted as the Ecoregion Transnational Coordinator for Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Guillermo has a PhD in Natural Science from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina. He has several years of experience teaching at the high school, graduate, and post-graduate level – experience which has served him well in his training work with FOS. Guillermo has 3 children and lives in a rural area, where he maintains an organic vegetable garden and orchard. He also enjoys processing the fruits and vegetables he produces and doing carpentry projects.
Please Give Us Your Feedback
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– From the FOS – From the FOS Team