Category Archives: FOS News

A Bird in the Bush Equals Money in the Hand

 

FOS’s Arlyne Johnson and colleagues Paul Frederick Eshoo, Sivilay Duangdala, and Troy Hansel find that an ecotourism direct payment approach for wildlife sightings reduces illegal hunting.

Tourists spot a deer during a NamEt-PhouLouey Safari Credit: Leigh Vial

 

Vientiane – Lao-PDR  (2017) – A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Foundations of Success (FOS) finds that an ecotourism strategy based on “direct payments,” where local people are compensated for the amount of wildlife seen by tourists, has resulted in a reduction in illegal hunting and an increase in wildlife sightings.

In the study, the scientists tested a new model in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR)’s Nam-Et-Phou Louey (NEPL) National Protected Area (NPA) that used a direct payment approach to encourage villagers to reduce illegal hunting and trade, which is driving wildlife decline.  The model included a contractual payment to villages that was directly tied to the numbers of wildlife seen by eco-tourists as well as a reduction in payments for occurrences of hunting violations.  The approach was designed to reduce illegal hunting pressure, increase wildlife sightings, and ultimately wildlife numbers, while generating ongoing economic incentives for conservation.

The scientists implemented and then monitored this approach for four years. Results indicated a three-fold increase in hunting signs in the non-tourism sector of the NPA as opposed to no increase in the ecotourism sector. Additionally, an overall increase in wildlife sightings was observed. A wide range of threatened species benefited from the program, including Sambar deer, barking deer, primates and small carnivores.

“If eco-tourism or nature tourism is going to help increase these wildlife populations, there must be a direct link between the incentives for communities and the wildlife itself, “said Bounpheng Phoomsavath, Director of Nam Et — Phou Louey National Protected Area. “Many projects claim to be benefiting wildlife but they often lack this direct link.  Villagers get benefits but the wildlife populations continue to decline.  The direct links are the key to our success.”

In cases where ecotourism is used as a biodiversity conservation strategy, projects are often questioned for lack of resulting proof that threats to biodiversity have been averted or conditions for biodiversity have been improved.

“This study illustrates the importance of monitoring along a theory of change to evaluate if and how a conservation strategy is leading to expected outcomes and to inform adaptive management,” said WCS Lao PDR Country Deputy Director Dr. Santi Saypanya.

The scientists say the case “provides key lessons on the design of a direct payments approach for an ecotourism strategy, including how to combine threat monitoring and data on wildlife sightings to evaluate strategy effectiveness, on setting rates for wildlife sightings and village fees, and the utility of the approach for protecting very rare species.”

“Design, monitoring and evaluation of a direct payments approach for an ecotourism strategy to reduce illegal hunting and trade of wildlife in Lao PDR,” appears in the current edition of PLOS One. Authors include: Paul Frederick Eshoo and Troy Hansel; Sivilay Duangdala of WCS-Lao PDR; and Arlyne Johnson of Foundations of Success (Bethesda, Md.)

This project was supported by funding from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, the European Union, the French Agency for Development (AFD), the German Development Bank (KFW), the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

For a copy of the paper, please click here. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.018613

 

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Lessons from the Field December 2017

Photo by: Suzi Eszterhas

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to be sure you’re not investing your precious conservation dollars in ineffective strategies? You’re in luck! There’s a framework set up to help teams assess their work and adapt based on new information. In this month’s Lessons from the Field, we bring you a shining example of what that framework, the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, has done for one small NGO, Proyecto TitíThe Proyecto Tití team and FOSer, Armando Valdés, have been working and learning together for several years. Proyecto Tití has been a champion of the Open Standards as they continue to implement, monitor, learn, adapt, and share the result of their work with the conservation community.

 

Highlights include:

  • Charismatic monkeys
  • Adaptive management useful for small, community-focused NGO
  • The Open Standards helped prioritize strategies & funding with low budget
  • Strong leadership allowed team to stay on track as they institutionalized the use of Open Standards tools and Miradi Software

Read more: Lessons from the Field December 2017

 

 

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Adapting Strategies with the Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme

 

Using the Open Standards to plan and prioritize in the Munella Mountains.

The Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme has completed another loop around the Open Standards adaptive management cycle with the help of FOS Europe. The team took information gathered on their conservation strategies and considered it as they conceptualized and planned for the following year’s activities.

The team, including PPNEA, MES, KORA, and Euronatur, gathered in Munella Mountains, Albania for an annual review of their work. They use adaptive management to monitor their strategies and adjust as needed. During this year’s review, the Albanian team recognized that enforcing laws that keep the lynx safe is not all that’s needed to protect the animal. As a result, they’ve shifted focus onto the benefits that local people receive from coexisting with the lynx in the Munella Mountains.  

Annually revisiting their management plans allows the Programme to check in with their strategies and be sure they’re having the intending impact.

 

The planning team “caught on camera” where a camera trap snapped an image of the Balkan lynx.

 

 

The Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme works to protect the critically endangered Balkan Lynx within much of its known range (Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo). Specifically, the Programme aims to: halt further decline of the Balkan lynx population and secure its survival in the protected areas of the Green Belt; generate knowledge needed for long-term conservation of the species; build the professional capacity needed to maintain the programme in the region and; improve partnerships, public awareness, and involvement in conservation.

Visit their Facebook page for updates and stunning camera trap footage! 

 

 

 

 

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CCNet Europe Celebrates 10 Years!

Congratulations to the Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet) Europe franchise for recently celebrating 10 years of jointly promoting the use of the Open Standards in Europe!

CCNet Europe and friends held their rally in the stunning Pyrenees mountains of Catalonia, Spain. The Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera hosted the event at their nature education center and hostel, where marvelous views could be seen from any direction.

Additional congratulations to the new leadership team, Xavier Escuté (Fundacion La Pedrera), Nico Boenisch (FOS Europe) and Daniela Aschenbrenner (independent). You’ll be missed, Ilke Tilders (FOS Europe)!

Participants in the 10-year anniversary rally included representatives from: WWF Spain, WWF Russia, WWF US, WWF NL, WWF Madagascar, WWF Danube Office, The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Conservation International, Foundations of Success Europe, MAVA Foundation, BBF, various County Admin Boards in Sweden, The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Tour du Valet estate, Swedish Freshwater and Marine Agency, BIOM, Independent Consultants, and Miradi Software.

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Foundations of Success goes full-cycle with our organizational planning

For years, FOS has worked with conservation teams, stressing the importance of laying out their theories of change – how they expect theirconservation actions to lead to meaningful conservation change. Yet, for many of those years, we did not have our own explicit theory of change – we were not practicing what we preach.

In 2011, we realized we needed to change this! We made our implicit assumptions more explicit and developed a results chain to describe our main strategies, their intended impacts, and their interrelationships. We began monitoring indicators for each results chain annually via a scorecard that FOS staff filled out, based on our best understanding and often-incomplete knowledge of the longer-term effects of our work.

5 years later, in 2016, we hired an external evaluator to help us more accurately measure progress along our results chains, using primary data collected from our conservation partners. With the evaluator’s support, we struggled to better define our indicators and how we would measure them – we did exactly what our partners do when they are working on their conservation plans.

We gathered the data and learned a lot about where we were making progress and where we are not; where our theories of change held and where they did not; and where we cannot feasibly collect anything more than anecdotes and will have to accept some uncertainty. The process made us stronger as a team and, we hope, more effective.

Click here to learn more about this work. Thank you to all of you who provided your insights and to Kathleen Flower for her tireless work on this.

Results Chain Depicting Foundations of Success’s High-Level Theory of Change

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