ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT FOR CONSERVATION: Course 1: Collaborative & Community Based Conservation

This course addresses the growing need for skills of professionals and community leaders to collaborate and work in complex stakeholder environments and with communities to achieve protected area and natural resource conservation. 

Collaboration is vital for conservation and essential for supporting sustainable livelihoods in and around protected areas. Collaboration is a critical aspect of the human dimension of conservation and requires a special set of skills, knowledge and supporting systems as well as a high degree of adaptability to be successful. Effective collaboration demands persistence and strategic leadership to navigate through the inevitable complexity of bio-cultural linkages for a protected area and to negotiate the interests of many stakeholders. 

Conservation is no longer viewed as the pursuit of governments or locking up of areas but is instead seen as a partnership that engages all local interests, values, knowledge and management capacities. Communities commonly undertake roles of stewards, guardians or supporters of conservation areas, and it is essential that government agencies, non-government organisations, local businesses, communities and individuals work together in the development of the conservation program and its design. 


This is a practical program to help build the capacity of individuals, organisations and communities through examining new skills and systems that can ensure successful collaborative outcomes.  We will explore the concepts, apply strategic thinking and examine the best tools and practices for collaboration at all levels, with both internal and external stakeholders.

This program begins with the individual - exploring leadership strengths and weaknesses and the benefits of working collectively and engaging with multiple perspectives, values and solutions. 

The course covers:

  • The biocultural aspects of conservation and the value proposition necessary for collaborative conservation for each stakeholder.
  • How to address and protect rights of local communities, custodial landholders and Indigenous peoples and optimise their potential as conservation partners and ensure delivery of co-benefits.
  • The collaborative process, as both a business and social venture requiring effective co-design, strong governance, support systems, clear roles and responsibilities for current players and across generations.
  • Building adaptive toolkits for stakeholder engagement, communication and negotiation, power management and the empowerment of all players.
  • Key aspects of social and environmental return on investment, and other measures of progress that are essential to sustaining collaborative relationships and investments. 


  • Exploring leadership strengths and the tools and principles of collective leadership and engaging multiple perspectives in addressing complex problems.     
  • Building teams and networking including regional and cross-organisational collaboration.
  • Challenging biases and prejudices.     
  • Acknowledging and safeguarding human rights, community rights and contributions, marginal groups.
  • Applying tools for stakeholder evaluation and assessment of needs and potential as conservation partners.     
  • Designing communication strategies, stakeholder engagement processes and development of local structures for participation.
  • Developing optional governance arrangements and stepwise plans for co-management of resources.
  • Exploring alternative approaches and design of sustainable livelihood projects.     
  • Developing capacity to navigate uncertainty in collaborative programs and complex stakeholder and community settings.
  • Building organisational systems to support ongoing collaboration. 
  • Designing systems for monitoring progress and impact of collaborative programs. 


The knowledge and practical skills gained in this course are readily implemented and applicable for use in land management by governments, non-government, private landholders and Indigenous communities. The approach is applicable to conservation projects at any scale and is an opportunity for individuals to take a fresh look at their approach to working in teams with a collective leadership style.  

By the end of the course, participants will have a toolkit for working with other individuals, stakeholder groups, organisations and communities and a strong understanding of the principles of dynamic collaboration.  





Sunday, 20 February, 2022 - 23:45