Giving Compass' Take:

 Fred Nelson and Jeffrey Parrish explain that human impact on animal and plant species is getting worse. However, some organizations are focused on animal conservation plans through collaborative models. 

• There are many challenges for these collaboration models. An important one is that many stakeholders are involved but are not working together. How can strengthening communication help build a more effective collaborative network?

• Read about the role of zoos in animal conservation efforts. 

Human societies around the world are experiencing a historic loss of biological diversity and abundance. Newly released research describes how people have caused the loss of 83 percent of all wild animals and about half of all plants. Humans now impact 75 percent of the earth’s land surface, and approximately 60 percent of the world’s large mammals are threatened with extinction.

These kinds of dramatic data points make it clear that addressing the scope of the challenges facing conservation efforts around the world today will require concerted action on a much larger scale than has happened to date. It is equally clear that conservation challenges are increasingly complex, comprised of multi-faceted social, institutional, and ecological factors that span the local to the global.

To overcome these challenges, conservation efforts need to more aggressively adopt ideas and approaches to systems leadership and collective action that involve new ways of working together across organizational fiefdoms and disciplinary siloes. Fortunately, some promising new models of collaboration—often based around new organizations or networks explicitly designed to support collective action and collaboration—are emerging.

Conservation outcomes are fundamentally tied to processes that occur on a relatively large ecosystem, or landscape, scale. Delivering results on this scale, especially in complex landscapes with diverse government, private, and community actors, can only happen through collaboration.

Innovative conservation models like this depend on diverse organizations pooling their skills, resources, and experiences in pursuit of common goals and interests. However, a core challenge facing conservation is that many local projects emerge in isolation. This creates two problems: 1) The initiatives never coalesce into a wider movement, and 2) they often have no systematic way of learning from each other, resulting in massive inefficiency and duplication of effort.

Read the full article about animal conservation through collaboration by Fred Nelson and Jeffrey Parrish at Stanford Social Innovation Review.