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EditPhoto Title:Conservation Stewards Program
EditPhoto Description:Helping people choose conservation
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EditImage Description:Malagasy farmer
EditPhoto Credit:© Cristina Mittermeier
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In many parts of the world, communities are using their land, water and other natural resources in unsustainable ways — simply because there is no economic alternative.


When conservation offers concrete benefits to rural farmers and local communities, protecting the environment becomes an increasingly viable and attractive choice. CI’s Conservation Stewards Program (CSP) works with communities who agree to protect their natural resources, as well as the benefits they provide, in exchange for a steady stream of compensation from investors. This approach helps conserve biodiversity while improving the quality of life for local communities.



Conservation Agreements: Bridging Conservation & Development

CSP’s conservation agreement model offers direct incentives for conservation through a negotiated benefit package in return for conservation actions by communities. Thus, a conservation agreement links conservation funders — governments, bilateral agencies, private sector companies, foundations, individuals, etc. — to people who own and use natural resources.

Benefits typically include investments​ in social services like health and education as well as investments in livelihoods, often in the agricultural or fisheries sectors. Benefits can also include direct payments and wages. The size of these benefit packages depends on the cost of changes in resource use, as well as conservation performance. Rigorous monitoring verifies both conservation and socioeconomic results.

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EditSection Title:Why Conservation Agreements?
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EditResult value:Stewardship building
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EditText:Conservation agreements empower people to drive the solution to conservation challenges

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EditResult value:Adaptable and fair
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EditText:The terms of conservation agreements are designed with local communities, and they are tailored to specific situations and needs

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EditResult value:Positive results
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EditText:Conservation agreements deliver concrete, measurable benefits for human well-being

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EditResult value:Equitable
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EditText:Conservation agreements offset the opportunity cost of doing conservation
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EditImage Alt Text:Villagers in canoe near Santa Marta Colombia
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:1.5 million hectares conserved
EditText:Founded in 2005, CSP has worked with communities worldwide, with 51 agreements signed in 14 countries, benefiting a total of 35,000 people and leading to the protection of 1.5 million hectares of key habitat.

To date, CSP has committed $7 million in grants, with an additional $10.3 million leveraged by those grants.

EditPhoto Credit:© Robin Moore/iLCP
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EditSection Title:Funding community conservation projects
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EditImage Description: Farmers Reap Benefits of Improved Grazing Practices
EditText: CSP works with communities to maintain ecosystem services that sustain livelihoods — allowing people to become stewards of natural resources. By empowering communities, CSP’s projects protect biodiversity against illegal fishing and logging and support climate, freshwater and cultural security.

In 2009, CSP and Conservation South Africa (CSA) initiated the Biodiversity and Red Meat Initiative (BRI), through which farmers commit to sustainable approaches to grazing, water management, stock numbers and predator control. In return, they get higher prices for their stock and other benefits.
READ MORE: Farmers in Namaqualand Reap the Benefits of Improved Grazing Practices

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EditPhoto Credit:© Tessa Mildenhall
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EditDefault Title:Conservation Agreements in Alto Mayo, Peru[Optional]
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    Contact Us

    Eduard Niesten

    Senior Director


    Margarita Mora

    Latin America Manager


    Juliette Crepin

    Natural Product Engagement Manager


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    More of Our Work Links

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    First Image

    EditTitle:Climate
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_30785027.jpg
    EditLink:/what/Pages/Climate.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

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    EditTitle:Science and Innovation
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_80568511.tif
    EditLink:/how/pages/science-and-innovation.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond

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    EditTitle:The Ocean
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_16084886.jpg
    EditLink:/what/Pages/oceans.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse