Conservation Effectiveness


Conservation Effectiveness is a multi-part series investigating whether conservation strategies work or not. The series is the result of a collaboration between Mongabay and a team of conservation scientists led by tropical forest ecologist Zuzana Burivalova from University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Visit for the latest information and to get involved with on-going analysis of different conservation strategies. The methodology for collecting and describing the evidence is here too.


Part 1: Does forest certification really work?

Is certified forest management, and Reduced Impact Logging, really better than conventional logging for the environment, people, and logging companies’ bottom lines?

Review evidence on Forest Certification at


Part 2: Cash for conservation: Do payments for ecosystem services work?

Is paying landowners in the tropics for providing ecosystem services better for the environment and the landowners than doing nothing?

Review evidence on payments for ecosystem services at


Part 3: Does community-based forest management work in the tropics?

Is community-based forest management good for forests in countries that lie in the tropics, and the people who live near those forests?

Review evidence on community-based forest management at


Part 4: Experience or evidence: How do big conservation NGOs make decisions?

WCS veterinarian Steve Harvey fitting a collar on one of the elephants. Image courtesy of Nacha Geoffrey/WCS

Is there a common understanding of what credible evidence means, how to best use different strands of evidence, and how organizations can evaluate their work and create evidence that others can use?


Part 5: Do protected areas work in the tropics?

Are protected areas good for forests in the tropics and the people who live near them?

Review evidence on tropical protected areas at


Part 6: The ups and downs of marine protected areas: Examining the evidence

Are marine protected areas good for marine life and fisheries-dependent people?

Review evidence on marine protected areas at


Part 7: Do environmental advocacy campaigns drive successful forest conservation?

How effective are advocacy campaigns at driving permanent policy changes that lead to forest conservation results?


Part 8: Is planting trees as good for the Earth as everyone says?

How does tree planting change the environment, society, and economy?

Review evidence on reforestation and forest restoration at


Downloadable data