Conservation goals should be based on science.

Conservation should work with, not against, capitalism.

Conserving nature for nature’s sake should be a goal of conservation.

These assertions are just a snapshot of the statements on which you would be asked to give your views if you were to take the Future of Conservation Survey. Over 14,000 conservationists have now submitted their opinions, and the results show a “diverse but not divided” movement. Nationality, gender, age and education all influence views on conservation, and some issues are particularly hot topics.

While most agree that maintaining biological diversity and ecosystem processes should both be goals of conservation, the role of capitalism in conservation and the merits of strict protected areas are still hotly debated topics.

It may sound as though such differing views on key issues could cause problems for those working towards conservation goals, but in reality, diverse stances can encourage strong debate and challenge potentially outdated attitudes. In those areas where consensus exists, knowing this can offer a foundation for collaboration and engagement.

Not just an academic exercise

Building on the response from the survey, the creators are now launching a complementary tool: the Group and Organisation Future of Conservation Survey (GOFOX). Offering bespoke surveys for individual groups and organisations, GOFOX will allow conservationists to give their views on tailored statements, with subsequent analysis enabling an understanding of values held on issues more relevant to the group or organisation.

Results can stimulate discussion around how individual viewpoints complement those of others within the group and inform wider global debates, helping to guide actions and steer future strategic direction. Within conservation training, the tool may support teaching around the importance of diverse perspectives within the sector.

Sara Calçada, Programme Manager for Conservation Capacity & Leadership at Fauna & Flora International (FFI) says, “This tool is so much more than an interesting survey: GOFOX will allow groups and organisations to create their own survey, adapted to their context and purpose of the exercise; FFI has already been using it with partner organisations, as a facilitated team-building exercise, or as part of organisational strategic planning. It’s a great exercise to complete on its own, or as part of a broader discussion, completely independent of people’s roles or hierarchy within their organisation or team, and focusing on what we all care about – conservation.

Credit Chloe Hodgkinson/FFI
The new GOFOX tool can be used as a team-building exercise or as part of organisational strategic planning. Credit: Chloe Hodgkinson/FFI

Strength in diversity

At Fauna & Flora International, we recognise that our diversity makes us strong. Understanding the different views held by our staff and partners can enable us to harness the potential of every individual, building more effective teams to achieve greater conservation impact.

This new GOFOX tool can provide an additional approach to help us grow even stronger, deliver more tailored training and provide more personalised support to our teams across the world.

Try the Future of Conservation survey yourself, and share the results on Twitter, tagging @FaunaFloraInt and using the hashtag #FutureofConservation.

GOFOX was created in collaboration by the University of Cambridge, Fauna & Flora International, the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds.

Funding for GOFOX has been received from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Collaborative Fund, which is supported by the Arcadia Fund, and from the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Edinburgh.