Addressing the Problem of Scale in Conservation
Conservation has a scale problem. Our conservation interventions remain piecemeal, marginal, and highly-site specific, yet ecological change and degradation are accelerating and consumer material demand increasing rapidly. In the face of such radical environmental change, we must fundamentally rethink and scale our approach to conservation to match the magnitude of the challenge. While critics argue that the nature of conservation requires highly local interventions and point to past failed attempts to scale, we argue that there are scalable solutions in conservation, and it’s a matter of overcoming the process challenge and being more strategic in the means elected for scaling. We examine products and solutions in the private sector, social entrepreneurship, and other international development fields to learn what approaches led to successful scaling, including considering distribution systems and the entire value chain from the start of a conceived intervention, overlaying personal benefits with a contribution to a public good, and capitalizing on financial returns and monetizing solutions. These best practices coupled with the inherent scalability of digital solutions and exponential technologies offer new opportunities and approaches for the practice and science of conservation. The article concludes with a synthesis of these applied lessons from other fields in tailored list of applied guidelines to scale in conservation.
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Pre-publication draft: Advancing federal capacities for the early detection of and rapid response to invasive species through technology innovation
Invasive species early detection and rapid response (EDRR) actions could integrate technologies, innovation, and other outside expertise into invasive species management. From early detection by forecasting the next invasion and improved surveillance through automation, to tools to improve rapid response, the next generation of management tools for a national EDRR program could integrate advances in technologies including the small size and ubiquity of sensors, satellites, drones, and bundles of sensors (like smartphones); advances in synthetic, molecular, and micro-biology; improved algorithms for artificial intelligence, machine vision and machine learning; and open innovation and citizen science. This paper reviews current and emerging technologies that the federal government and resource managers could utilize as part of a national EDRR program, and makes a number of recommendations for integrating technological solutions and innovation into the overall Federal Government response.
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