Conservation is essentially about managing people. Conservation becomes ineffective when people break the rules intended to conserve nature. Unfortunately, noncompliance is pervasive. Between 20 and 50% of the timber sold worldwide is of illegal origin. Illegally caught fish accounts for nearly 20% of the world’s reported catch. More than half of park ranger deaths are attributed to poachers. Illegal wildlife trade; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and illegal timber trade are amongst the largest illicit activities in the world. At least 23,000 elephants were killed in 2013, seriously threatening elephant populations, fueling large-scale corruption, funding militias, and militarizing the struggle between poachers and rangers. Noncompliance threatens not only the environment, but also social and economic prosperity at a global level.

It is surprising that compliance receives relatively little focus in the conservation literature when compared to other aspects of conservation. There is, however, a great deal of useful information about compliance scattered in various fields such as sociology and economics.

In this review, Adrian from The Conservation Planning Group integrates some of this key knowledge into a system that can help the understanding and management of compliance in the nature conservation context. The review draws a clear link between conservation and human behaviour, highlighting A) the need to eliminate barriers between disciplines, and B) bridge gaps between scholars and managers to solve problems and translate research into action.

You can find the paper below or directly contact Adrian Arias:

Adrian Arias, Understanding and managing compliance in the nature conservation context, Journal of Environmental Management, Available online 16 February 2015, ISSN 0301-4797,

11/03/2015—Edited to add: The paper is available for FREE until April 29, 2015; follow this link for a free download: . Feel free to share!


Heuristic of a system for understanding and managing compliance.



Leave a Reply