Broadscale Conservation

We define broadscale conservation as the process of integrating conservation principles into the wider landscape and seascape. This does not mean getting rid of protected areas, which are still needed for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, but recognises that they are usually too small, isolated and under pressure to protect biodiversity on their own. A critical component of broadscale conservation today involves addressing the growing challenges of climate change..

Broadscale conservation therefore involves the combination of many different management approaches (ranging from protected areas to intensively managed farmland and cities), in a way that provides both conservation and sustainable development. Tools like buffer zones and conservation corridors are part of this approach, but are still imperfectly understood.

Conservation institutions have to learn to work with different partners, some of whom have traditionally often been suspicious of, or antagonistic towards, conservation. These include farmers and corporations that use natural resources; local communities worried that conservation action will interfere with their livelihoods; military personnel; urban planners and others.

In this rapidly developing field, radical thinking and a willingness to take risks are both necessary to success. Efforts are also needed to break down the artificial barriers being erected between human welfare and conservation.

Equilibrium Research is involved in broadscale conservation in three main ways

  • Landscape approach: a long term interest in the development and application of landscape approaches, through the triple approach of protection, sustainable management and where necessary restoration.

  • Restoration: a series of projects have looked at planning, management and monitoring of restoration options, along with analysis of how NGOs can tackle restoration through their work. This has included close involvement in developing the concepts of Forest Landscape Restoration, including ways of measuring the return of ecosystem services following restoration of degraded land.

  • Climate change: our involvement in this issue began in 1993 when we co-authored the WWF book Some like it Hot on biodiversity impacts of climate change. Since then projects include: analysis of the impacts of climate change, approaches to management to mitigate the impacts, the importance of good governance in ecosystem-based adaptation and the role of protected areas in climate mitigation strategies.