Facilitating biodiversity conservation through partnerships to achieve transformative outcomes

Rehema White*, Birgit Schmook, Sophie Calmé, Anthony Giordano, Yves Hausser, Lynn Kimmel, Lou Marie Lecuyer, Mauro Lucherini, Crisol Méndez-Medina, Juan L. Peña-Mondragón

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Conservation biology is a mission-driven discipline that must navigate a new relationship between conservation and science. Because conservation is a social and political as well as an ecological project, conservation biologists must practice interdisciplinarity and collaboration. In a comparative study of 7 cases (Jaguars in the Chaco, Grevy's zebra in Kenya, Beekeeping in Tanzania, Andean cats in Argentina, Jaguars in Mexico, Lobster fishing, and Black bears in Mexico), we examined motivations for collaboration in conservation, who can collaborate in conservation, and how conservation professionals can work well together. In 5 case studies, successful conservation outcomes were prioritized over livelihood benefits. In the other 2 cases, livelihoods were prioritized. All case studies employed participatory approaches. There were multiple external actors, including local and Indigenous communities, nongovernmental organizations, agencies, regional and national governments, and international organizations, which enhanced conservation and wider sustainability outcomes. Key collaboration aspects considered across the case studies were time (mismatch between relationship building and project schedules), trust required for meaningful partnerships, tools employed, and transformative potential for people, nature, and the discipline of conservation biology. We developed guidelines for successful collaboration, including long-term commitment, knowledge integration, multiscalar and plural approaches, cultivation of trust, appropriate engagement, evaluation, supporting students, and efforts for transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14057
Number of pages21
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Biodiversity conflict
  • Conflict transformation
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Just conservation
  • Participation
  • Role of academics
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Partnership


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