Conservation Business Plans are quickly becoming the new standard in developing a successful strategy for the conservation of natural resources. A business plan serves as an important mechanism to assess the status of the target species or landscape, set conservation priorities, and support decisions that are grounded in the best available science and lead to achieving the desired outcomes. Each plan also outlines the investment of resources (financial and other) needed to achieve the desired outcomes and specific performance measures.

The development of successful business plans includes a coalition of diverse partners, each of which bring knowledge, expertise and experience to the effort. In some cases, such as the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative, dozens of partners are involved.

Key components of Conservation Business Plans include:

  • Status and situational assessment
  • Scope of the plan
  • Desired outcomes and key indicators
  • Clearly-defined goals and strategies
  • Specific actions necessary to achieve the goals and desired outcomes
  • Specific funding and other investment needed
  • Specific performance measures

To aide in the development of conservation business plans, the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation is a useful tool. This is made even more useful and simplified by Miradi software. Together, the Open Standards of the Practice of Conservation and Miradi enable the coalition of partners developing a business plan to create clear and concise results chains, obstacles and risks, lessons learned, and adaptation based on new information and lessons learned.

NABCI developed three guidance documents for consideration when developing a conservation business plan: Content and Standards of a Conservation Business Plan, High Quality Bird Conservation Planning, and Human Infrastructure for a Conservation Plan.

NABCI prepared a status update of progress for each of the eight Conservation Business Plans in January of 2016. The Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative is currently the most advanced of these eight planning efforts. The Pacific Americas Shorebird Conservation Strategy is also in active development.