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The Conservation Solutions Lab

Generating knowledge on what works in community engagement
for biodiversity conservation

The Conservation Solutions Lab employs an evidence-driven interdisciplinary approach to bring knowledge of what works to conservation and development practitioners to advance effective and equitable engagement of communities in conservation programs. The CSL network is a collection of experts in the field of community-based conservation efforts with whom we work to conduct research, produce knowledge, and implement solutions around the topic of community engagement in biodiversity conservation.

CSL is a collaborative initiative led by a unique partnership between the Arizona State University Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and Chemonics International.

New research from the Conservation Solutions Lab
highlights conflicting views of frontline communities

Are they essential leaders and drivers of conservation or threats to biodiversity? CSL researchers argue that conservation and development practitioners must confront this tension by engaging communities in solutions from the idea stage in this @Mongabay op-ed “From threat to solution: Rethinking the role of communities in nature conservation (commentary)” #GlobalGoals #SDG15

Conservation Solutions Lab Members

Michael Brown
Co-Director, Conservation Solutions Lab / Director, Environment and Natural Resources, Chemonics International
Candice Carr Kelman
Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Sustainability

Stephanie Ng
Project Manager, Chemonics International

Alejandro Arrivillaga
Chemonics International
Rajesh Buch
Director, Sustainability Practice, International Development, Arizona State University
Megha Budruk
Associate Professor, Parks and Recreation Program, School of Community Resources and Development
Samantha Cheng
Biodiversity Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History
Nalini Chhetri
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
480-965-3099; 480-727-0745
Leah Gerber
Founding Director, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Marco Janssen
Professor, School of Sustainability
Chuan Liao
Assistant Professor, School of Sustainability
Shauna Mahajan
Conservation Social Scientist, World Wildlife Fund
Emily Maistrellis
Public Health Researcher, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
David Manuel-Navarrete
Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
Robin Martino
Deputy Chief of Party, Biodiversity Results and Integrated Development Gains Enhanced (BRIDGE) Project, DAI
Kina Murphy
Independent Consultant
Beth Polidoro
Associate Professor, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Aireona Bonnie Raschke
Program Director, Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, Desert Botanical Garden
Michael Schoon
Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
Anne Marie Tiani
Jim Tolisano
Director of Innovations, Conservation LLC
Christine Vogt
Professor, School of Community Resources and Development, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
John Waugh
Vice President, Integra, LLC
Supin Wongbusarakum
University of Hawaii
Abigail York
Associate Professor of Governance and Public Policy, Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Center for Biodiversity Outcomes logo

The mission of the Arizona State University Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is to enable the discoveries and solutions needed to sustain Earth’s biodiversity in a time of rapid biophysical, institutional and cultural change. The center draws on the innovative power of ASU to create path-breaking, practical solutions in biodiversity conservation by partnering with NGOs, corporations, governments and other academic institutions while training the next generation of conservation leaders.

Chemonics logo

Recognizing that development challenges are interrelated, Chemonics applies a “development first” approach to working in environment and natural resources management, focusing on strengthening markets, safeguarding natural capital and empowering marginalized groups. Chemonics’ development-centered approach can be seen in action across a broad array of landscapes, from rainforest communities to coastal cities, spanning more than 200 projects in natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, land tenure and property rights, environmental management and climate change adaptation and mitigation

About the Conservation Solutions Lab

We are a collaborative initiative led by a unique partnership between the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University and Chemonics International.

We bring together researchers and practitioners from multiple disciplines and sectors to generate and use the best available science to develop effective community engagement approaches for biodiversity conservation. Collectively, we define needs, share experience and knowledge, and refine and test solutions.

Our mission

Our mission is to bring evidence-based practice to designing, implementing and evaluating the impact of community engagement approaches in conservation.

Our Approach

Our overarching approach is to synthesize and test approaches to effective and equitable community engagement in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management. We aim to elucidate trade-offs and synergies between socio-economic and ecological components of natural ecosystems under the community-based conservation model.

Connecting communities and conservation

Studnets around chalk drawing of the earthEngaging communities is regarded as a critical component in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Despite the widely accepted idea that community engagement is essential to conservation success, the evidence for why specific engagement approaches are most effective in achieving long-term outcomes is unclear.

The methods for sufficient and successful engagement are not well understood either. Strengthening this evidence base will enhance our success on achieving durability in conservation initiatives, while reducing the risk of failed programs and negative consequences for people and ecosystems.

We are bringing together a range of multidisciplinary perspectives to pursue an evidence-based approach to conceptualizing and implementing effective and equitable community engagement that leads to measurable biodiversity conservation outcomes.

By synthesizing a global evidence base from published and grey literature, we will characterize the current state of knowledge of what we know about existing community engagement approaches and whether and how they work to achieve ecological and social outcomes.

We will use this evidence base to derive standardized and comprehensive frameworks of understanding of how engagement approaches are designed and used, build robust evidence-driven theories of change on how these approaches are thought to achieve outcomes in different contexts and test these theories with case studies with partner institutions and projects.

Our evidence-driven, collaborative approach represents a transformational approach to designing and implementing community engagement in global conservation outcomes.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more or partnering with us.

Candice Carr Kelman:
Michael Brown:

Mailing Address
Conservation Solutions Lab
PO Box 875402
Tempe, AZ 85287-5402