Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Welcome to Conservation Gateway

The Gateway is for the conservation practitioner, scientist and decision-maker. Here we share the best and most up-to-date information we use to inform our work at The Nature Conservancy.

Stepping up to the Challenge: The Whole System Approach to Conservation in North America

Ward, Johanna; Agostini, Vera; Anderson, Mark; Burns, Catherine; Doran, Patrick; Fargione, Joe; Groves, Craig; Hanners, Lise; Hoekstra, Jon; Marshall, Rob; Morrison, Scott; Palmer, Sally; Shaw, Doug; Smith, Jo
7/7/2011
link DOWNLOAD FILE: DOWNLOAD FILE (220K)

This concept paper presents the newly developed “whole system”conservation approach that will be fundamental to the Conservancy's thinking regarding how to achieve meaningful conservation outcomes in an era of large-scale disturbances. The report examines the fact that we can no longer limit our practice to preserving a collection of pristine sites, but rather must acknowledge that people are an integral part of whole systems, and that the matrix of lands and waters surrounding areas of high ecological integrity are part of long-term conservation solutions as well.

The concept paper describes the rationale for a whole system approach, characteristics of whole systems, discusses the implications for the Conservancy’s work, and suggests what success may look like.

The Whole System Conservation Approach Appendix (http://www.conservationgateway.org/file/appendix-whole-system-conservation-concept-paper-illustrative-examples-north-america-region-nat) provides examples that show how the whole system approach works in nine active Conservancy projects: the Gulf of Mexico, California Current, the Great Lakes, Alaska Yukon, Saint Kitts and Nevis Caribbean, Mojave Desert, the Northern Appalachians, the Colorado River, and Chesapeake Bay.

GO BACK »