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This research seeks to answer, “How much does it cost to achieve a conservation outcome?”  The project consists of three primary objectives:  (1) create a web-based decision support tool to allow users (e.g. mid- to senior-level government, foundation, and NGO staff) to explore tradeoffs between investment choice and biodiversity loss and use this information to inform national and international funding decisions; (2) amalgamate and synthesize estimates of conservation investment globally to allow comparison of conservation budget needs with actual expenditure; and (3) compile conservation cost and benefit data using evidence synthesis methods, and develop guidelines to enable these data to be standardized across projects.

Currently, we have developed a prototype tool that allows users to explore how varying hypothetical conservation investment affects biodiversity decline in a given country. We are also developing a database on conservation intervention cost-benefit information. In FY21 we plan to pilot the conservation investment tool in at least 2 countries (Colombia and Peru), and are working with IUCN to combine this tool with the Species Threat Abatement and Recovery (STAR) metric.


  • International Union for Conservation of Nature



  • The Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation
  • ASU Global Drylands Center
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


April 2018 — Ongoing