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A well-managed and operational Conservation Gateway is in our future! Marketing, Conservation, and Science have partnered on a plan to rebuild the Gateway into the organization’s enterprise content management system (AEM), with a planned launch of a minimal viable product in late 2024. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, reach out to for more info!

TNC has recently updated its conservation approach. For the most up-to-date Conservation by Design 2.0 Guidance document, please visit the Conservation by Design 2.0 section.  


Conservation Action Planning (CAP) is a relatively simple, straightforward and proven approach for planning, implementing and measuring success for conservation projects. CAP is TNC's version of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation.

Conservation Action Planning addresses a complete project cycle—including design, implementation and evaluation.

The guidance and tools on this site can help you:

  • identify the project’s biodiversity of interest and its current and desired status;
  • identify the most critical threats currently or likely to degrade the biodiversity;
  • recognize the social, economic, political and cultural factors contributing to the threats or representing opportunities to enhance the biodiversity;
  • develop strategies to abate the threats and maintain or restore the biodiversity based on the situation at hand; and,
  • implement the strategies, monitor the outcomes and use that information to to adapt and learn throughout the life of the project.


What is Conservation Action Planning?
Conservation Action Planning (CAP) is a powerful ten-step tool to guide conservation teams to develop focused strategies and measures of success.

When regional priorities have been set, Conservation Action Planning is used to determine the plan of action for these priorities. As actions are taken and outcomes are measured, conservation action plans are revised to incorporate new knowledge.

The methodology was developed by conservation practitioners working in real places. It has been tested and deployed successfully by hundreds of teams working to conserve species, sites, ecosystems, landscapes, watersheds and seascapes across the globe. While this method was initially conceived and designed for planning and managing for biological values, is continuously adapted by practitioners and has been successfully adapted for use in planning and management for archeological, cultural and spiritual values.

Where is Conservation Action Planning Being Used?
Since its infancy, almost 20 years ago, the Conservation Action Planning approach has been applied and adapted in projects Worldwide. The CAP adaptive management framework has been applied by rural and indigenous residents, scientists, government officials, conservation and sustainable development practitioners from the non-profit sector, entrepreneurs and donor institutions, to inform decisions at many project scales. It has been used by projects which followed ecological, political or resource-ownership boundaries, alike. From an ecological boundary perspective this means that real projects have used Conservation Action Planning for large land- or sea-scapes, for species crossing landscapes, for threats which cross landscapes, and for specific sites. From a political boundary perspective, CAP has been applied by projects with a global, multi/national, country-based, state, province, municipality, village or community focus. And lastly, from a resource-ownership boundary perspective CAP has been applied for indigenous or communal, private, and government (federal, state, municipal) projects.

To see some real life projects that based on CAP, we invite you to visit ConPro, a searchable repository of over 1000 conservation projects of The Nature Conservancy and its partners. Learn details like the ecological targets being conserved, threats to these targets, strategies being implemented, and what indicator measurements are showing about progress towards achieving the project objectives.

Conservation Action Planning is supported and freely distributed by The Nature Conservancy to any conservation practitioner in the hopes that it will result in more focused and effective conservation action taking place across the globe. Many teams from many different organizations have adopted and are using CAP in one form or another. Their experiences and feedback have helped refine and shape the method.

How can I learn more about Conservation Action Planning?

Find detailed how-to information about CAP in our Guidance section.

Learn about the successes, innovations and challenges from real-life projects.

The Conservation Coaches Network
is a world-wide network of trained, experienced conservation professionals committed to supporting teams to effectively apply Conservation Action Planning (CAP) or the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation.