Latest On The Conservation Gateway

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 


The Nature Conservancy uses a collaborative, science-based conservation approach and a common set of analytical methods to identify the biodiversity that needs to be conserved, to decide where and how to conserve it and to measure our effectiveness. Together this conservation approach and set of analytical methods form the core of what we call Conservation by Design.

The basic concepts of our conservation approach are simple and follow an adaptive management framework of setting goals and priorities, developing strategies, taking action and measuring results.  Originally captured in 1996, Conservation by Design is a framework that evolves the more we learn from the practice of conservation.  The most recent version of Conservation by Design was published in 2006 and is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese (links to each of these documents in the library)

To achieve adaptive management, or Conservation by Design, two analytical methods are commonly used in TNC – Ecoregional Assessment and Conservation Action Planning.  Again, these methods evolve and are adapted to particular situations.  The methodologies are not prescriptive but rather suggest steps and methods for achieving those steps that we have found useful when setting goals and priorities, developing strategies and taking conservation actions. The methods can be used in tandem or independently depending on the questions most important to your work.

Ecoregional Assessment is a method for setting geographic priorities based on the status of biodiversity, habitat condition, threats and socio-political conditions in an ecoregion.  There are many other ways priority-setting can be accomplished as well, such as through trade-off analysis or multi-objective spatial planning.  Because TNC has a long history of conducting ecoregional assessments, we have a lot of material available on this approach.  Recently however, the organization has been exploring alternative priority-setting approaches.  The Gateway will expand to cover these topics as well once we have some early, but well thought out, ideas to share.

Conservation Action Planning (CAP) is a method for determining strategies and guiding actions.  CAP is used to design and manage conservation projects that advance conservation at any scale. A variety of data are used to develop strategies and actions of sufficient scope and scale to abate threats, maintain or restore biodiversity and strengthen capacity to ensure long-term results. Conservation Action Planning is TNC’s version of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation established by the Conservation Measures Partnership.  To learn more about the relationship between the two methods visit our CAP and Open Standards page Whether you would like to use CAP or a variation on this methodology to guide your conservation project, we provide here an overview of the process, guidance on how to develop and implement a plan, and building blocks you may find useful when planning for conservation.

Within TNC, we have also been exploring the use of more traditional business planning to improve our conservation plans and our ability to implement them.  Business Planning places emphasis on the questions “How will we do this and what will it take?”  We are still developing these ideas as they apply to projects within the Conservancy.  To see what we have to offer thus far visit our section on Business Planning.