In the past year, the global biodiversity crisis has been forced to the forefront of public consciousness: Human activity has impacted up to 75% of the earth’s land area, as the IPBES has reported, and has the potential to drive up to one million species into extinction. But while most traditional conservation efforts focus on setting aside protected areas—which cover about 15% of the earth’s land and 3% of its oceans—conservationists must also address landscapes where people and natural systems co-exist, where nature is intertwined with human development and social change.

In eastern and southern Africa—and indeed much of the world—entrepreneurial conservation is leading the way in four key areas:

  1. Reforming Governance: One of the largest barriers to entrepreneurial conservation and sustainable management can be when wildlife, forests, and fisheries are owned by the state—whether due to historical legacies or political ideology—and opportunities for use by local communities are limited.
  2.  Building Community Capacity: Even when communities can secure rights over their wildlife, forests, and other natural resources, they still need the capacity to serve as effective managers, to enter into business partnerships, and to plan for its long-term stewardship and development.
  3. Brokering New Partnerships: Nature-based businesses usually require two critical parties to come together: rural communities that live alongside and act as long-term stewards of natural resources and businesses that bring capital, market access, and operational expertise.
  4. New Financing Models: If conservation ventures want to scale their impact, investment needs to increase rapidly. For this to happen, however, venture financing needs to recognize how expensive and time-consuming it can be to establish businesses based on community-private partnerships.

Read the full article about entrepreneurship helps biodiversity crisis in Africa by Fred Nelson at Stanford Social Innovation Review.