MONITORING AND EVALUATION FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
FREE CONSERVATION BEST PRACTICE
Conservationists can measure the success of their work by how much impact they achieve. Measuring and documenting their impact is essential for conservationists to:
Make informed management decisions, on whether to continue, adapt, or stop their current work.
Learn from success and failure, so that they, and others, can create stronger plans for future work.
Be accountable for the activities they carry out and the funds they spend.
If conservationists do not measure and report on their impact, they risk wasting time and funds on work that does not lead to the desired change in the situation of interest.
The purpose of this best practice is to provide conservationists with guidance on how to plan their monitoring and evaluation activities and report on the success of their work in terms of the impact achieved.
This best practice can be used as a step-by-step guide to plan and report on monitoring and evaluation activities for conservation work of any scale, focus, or time frame. For example, it could be used to monitor and evaluate a multi-partner programme to increase the number of wind farms across Europe, or to monitor and evaluate a local project seeking to increase the population of house sparrows in a village park.
This best practice is, however, best used together with other best practices in the Wildlife Conservation Professional series. As well as being used as step-by-step guidelines, all the best practices in this series can be used as supporting resources for training and facilitation.
This best practice begins with a set of overarching principles to guide the project team when planning and reporting on their monitoring and evaluation activities. It then describes the 4 steps and associated activities for planning and reporting on monitoring and evaluation activities:
Defining project success by deciding and documenting what impact the project aims to achieve and measure in terms of desired changes to selected results.
Planning monitoring activities to measure changes in selected results.
Planning evaluation activities to determine what caused changes in selected results, and how much of that change was due to the project work.
Reporting project success to document how much impact was achieved.
At the end of the best practice, a section on adaptations provides guidance on how to report on changes to ecosystem services, human well-being, and unexpected effects. The adaptations section also provides guidance on how the project team can use the reports of project success to help create stronger conservation strategies for future work.