Providing evidence to improve practice

The journal, Conservation Evidence

Our online journal publishes research, monitoring results and case studies on the effects of conservation interventions. All papers include some monitoring of the effects of the intervention and are written by, or in partnership with, those who did the conservation work. It includes interventions such as habitat creation, habitat restoration, translocations, reintroductions, invasive species control, and education or integrated conservation development programmes, from anywhere around the world.

A volume is created each year with peer-reviewed papers published throughout the year. We now accept Short Communications as well as standard papers.

Special issues contain new papers on a specific topic.

Virtual collections collate papers published in the journal on specific topics such as management of particular groups of species.

To search for papers on a specific topic within the journal select 'Advanced search' on the Home page, enter your keyword(s) and within the Source box type: "conservation evidence".

Download Behaviour Change Issue

Behaviour Change Issue

Human behaviour is the key driver of all major threats to biodiversity. Habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and overharvesting are, in general, consequences of the lifestyle of billions of humans. In order to move from documenting losses and identifying causes for decline to tackling the underlying drivers and implementing solutions, we need to recognize that conservation is not only about animals and plants but equally about people and their behaviour.

Human behaviour is the key driver of all major threats to biodiversity. Habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and overharvesting are, in general, consequences of the lifestyle of billions of humans.  In order to move from documenting losses and identifying causes for decline to tackling the underlying drivers and implementing solutions, we need to recognize that conservation is not only about animals and plants but equally about people and their behaviour.


Fuel wood is a key source of energy for many families in developing areas of China.  Fuel efficient stoves are often identified as a win-win solution for forest protections and public health/development in China and across the globe. However, the communication and connection between stoves and biodiversity conservation has been less clear, by both those who are promoting their use as well as those adopting the technology. Social marketing is the application of marketing principles used to sell products applied to “sell” ideas, attitudes, and behaviours to benefit the public good. The Campaign to Protect the Sichuan Golden Snub-nosed Monkey in the Yuhe Nature Reserve, Gansu Province, China, was initiated in 2008 in an effort to inspire communities to protect forest habitat in the reserve, and quickly adopt fuel-efficient stoves.  Results of this study show significant increases in knowledge, attitudes, and interpersonal communication pre and post campaign (16 – 49 percentage points).  Post-campaign (within 1 year) results concluded 28.0% and 43.1% of those surveyed within 1 year of and 2.5 years adopted the technology.  For those households that adopted fuel-efficient stoves, consumption and gathering time were reduced by 40.1% and 38.2% respectively.  Finally, preliminary research suggests that adoption of fuel-efficient stoves also lead to a reduction in forest destruction, with a 23.7 % reduction in the number of newly felled trees in areas where the stoves had been adopted by greater than half of the surrounding community.  The results of this study suggest that social marketing can be an effective tool for improving community knowledge and attitudes, decreasing destructive behaviour, and reducing threats to biological important forests in China.

From April 2009 to November 2010, a social marketing campaign was designed and implemented in southwest Madagascar to encourage fishers to give up destructive fishing methods and to improve the awareness and enforcement of local laws (dina). The campaign, which targeted local leaders and fishers, was designed using results from formal and informal social surveys and focused on removing locally perceived barriers to behaviour change. In this paper, we describe the campaign from design to implementation, and evaluate its effects through surveys of 500 fishers and local leaders, and preliminary observational data on dina enforcement and use of destructive fishing techniques. Results after one year showed improved knowledge and positive attitudes about dina among leaders and fishers, moderate increases in the enforcement of dina, and moderate decreases in the use of destructive fishing methods. Our findings demonstrate the power and suitability of social marketing as a tool for fostering sustainable behaviour in traditional fishing communities, when combined with good governance and enforcement strategies.

In the high Andean landscapes of northern Peru’s Cajamarca San Ignacio province, Rare and Cáritas-Peru together launched a social marketing ‘Pride’ campaign, targeted at upstream farmers and downstream water users, to re-align upstream and downstream incentives and create a locally-governed water institution with directives to protect upstream forests. These institutions, locally called Reciprocal Water Agreements, are based heavily on local norms of reciprocity, whereby downstream users compensate upstream farmers for setting aside riparian forests for conservation and thereby protecting local species and environmental quality. Upstream farmers are compensated in the form of in-kind payments—a combination of economic alternatives such as provision of beekeeping equipment or fencing to keep cattle from encroaching riverbanks.  The purpose of the Pride campaign, based on Rare’s methods, was to generate local buy-in and accelerate the process of institution-building and adoption of Reciprocal Water Agreements. Cáritas-Peru and Rare staff collaborated to construct a theory of change and a series of methods have been employed to measure progress and impact. This campaign has led to the signing of 25 Reciprocal Water Agreement contracts, securing the protection of more than 360 hectares of forest.

Driving adoption of payments for ecosystem services through social marketing, Veracruz, Mexico
Green K.M., DeWan A., Balcázar Arias A. & Hayden D. (2013), 10, 48-52

In the Central Coast of Veracruz, Mexico, expansion of sugar cane production, cattle ranching and urban development threatens the tropical deciduous forest that serves as stopover habitat for numerous species of migratory raptors, among them the peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus. To conserve the habitat of these key migratory bird species, and slow deforestation due to agricultural pressures, Pronatura Veracruz and Rare implemented a social marketing Pride campaign to motivate landowners to join a network of private conservation areas in exchange for ecosystem service payments under Mexico’s national Payments for Ecosystem Services program. In an area where Payments for Ecosystem Services adoption had been slow to take off, initial results indicate that the application of social marketing methods facilitated a social change in the Actopan municipality of Veracruz and ultimately enabled the protection of more than 1,500 hectares of previously unprotected forest.

PCI Media Impact formed a coalition of 13 local organizations in Loja Province, Ecuador, in order to implement a My Community communications intervention to reduce contamination of the local surface drinking water supply. Contamination was caused by sewage from farm animals, deforestation causing soil erosion, and improper disposal of toxic wastes such as batteries. The My Community intervention was tripartite consisting of (1) an entertainment-education radio drama, (2) accompanying radio talk and call-ins, and news programs on local media outlets, and (3) the formation of EcoClubs in local schools. Listenership to the entertainment education radio drama was high (62%) among the target audience, and 100 students joined one of the 7 EcoClubs that were formed. Survey respondents reported substantial improvements in knowledge, attitude and behaviour related to solid waste pollution, including a 26-percentage point increase in respondents who reported that they had recycled their batteries. More than 5,000 batteries were collected in a battery collection drive.

The Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Areain the Lao People’s Democratic Republic contains the last confirmed breeding population of tigers (Panthera tigris) in Indochina.  There are two main threats to tigers, direct killing of tigers and the illegal hunting of wild ungulates, the tigers’ principle prey.  Villagers living around the National Protected Area rely on these same ungulates as an important source of protein in their daily diet.  The illegal hunting of tigers and prey for commercial trade is unsustainable and is driven by a lack of ownership by local villagers who engage in illegal activities and by government agencies that do not enforce the laws.  To reduce these threats the Nam Et Phou Louey National Protected Area is using a social marketing campaign in parallel with traditional enforcement to change the behavior of illegal hunters, village members, and government officials.  To determine campaign effectiveness, a survey instrument was developed to measure knowledge, attitudes and behavior change, which included both a control and pre and post surveys of target audiences.  The pre and post surveys indicate a significant shift along the theory of change from knowledge to behavior change.  The assumption is that over time this shift will also lead to threat reduction to, and thus increase of, tiger and prey populations.