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Conservation Action Planning Guidelines for Developing Strategies in the Face of Climate Change

Created: 12/31/2018 - Updated: 7/17/2019


The methodology outlined in these guidelines was developed by The Nature Conservancy to assist twenty existing conservation projects adapt their current strategies to climate change. These projects were part of the 2009 Climate Adaptation Clinic (i.e., Climate Clinic), held September 1-3, 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The original guidance, tools, and methods developed specifically for the Climate Clinic were tested by the twenty projects during the three day workshop. These significantly revised guidelines reflect the learning and insights gained from the application of the original guidance at the Climate Clinic and can be used more broadly in our Conservation Action Planning efforts. Methods for incorporating climate change in our conservation strategies and actions will be evolving rapidly over the coming months and years. As more projects apply this version of the guidelines to their work and test other methods and tools, additional lessons will be learned. Thus, these guidelines should be treated as a “work in progress” with future drafts reflecting our dynamic learning.


The guidance described in this document follows The Nature Conservancy’s primary project planning methodology – Conservation Action Planning or CAP. CAP is the Conservancy’s version of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation which is widely used across the conservation community. See This guidance is written for conservation practitioners who are already familiar with CAP and should be used in conjunction with basic CAP methods and tools. Readers are expected to have a fundamental understanding of Conservation Action Planning and its component parts and tools (e.g., establishing conservation targets, determining key ecological attributes, viability and threat assessments, situation analysis, CAP Excel Workbook, Miradi, etc). If practitioners do not have experience with CAP, this guidance may be of limited value because it draws on but does not explain the basic principles, methods, and existing tools. 

Published On

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies