Designing Conservation Projects

Designing Conservation Projects by Julian Caldecott (Cambridge University Press, 1996, paperback 2009). Paperback available from Cambridge University Press.

From the Foreword by Daniel H. Janzen:

“This book should be read and discussed in detail by any course in conservation biology, developing country politics, contemporary anthropology, and national and local tropical economics. 

THIS is a conservation biology textbook!  Over and over the story emerges that the neighbours generally care more about the fate of conservable wildlands than do those who are more geographically or sociologically distant … Put bluntly, the decision-making class in a tropical country generally views large blocks of wildlands as part of their income stream, thereby pitting the conservationist directly against national political power.  Julian has taken the time out of combat to write it down.  You can smell the tension.  It seems so simple – describe and bring it to the world’s attention.  The price has been very high.  The world of conservation can pay some of it back by reading and seeing what is here.”

From the 1997 review in Biological Conservation (volume 82, page 241) by F. B. Goldsmith:

“A series of seven case studies in tropical terrestrial and coastal conservation followed by five chapters analysing the options and suggesting guidelines for the future.  Julian Caldecott has stood back from his wide experience in southeast Asia, Nigeria and Costa Rica to review the failures of tropical conservation projects in the past and has produced a fascinating, readable and eminently wise collection of chapters which systematically produce a series of solutions.  Throughout this is an entirely personal account, but based on a careful analysis of what has worked and what has gone wrong with a series of international conservation  projects.  Too often in the past the emphasis has been on ecology and protection.  Here we have detailed reviews of the underlying problems, a critique of the solutions attempted, the role of NGOs and evaluation of their performance and much more emphasis on the participation of local people … The book is written by an experienced practitioner, it is a pleasure to read and should be read by everyone involved in development in the tropics … I will recommend it to all our MSc Conservation students and I hope that every member of every development agency and relevant government obtains it.”

From the 1997 review in Forest Ecology and Management (volume 96, pages 186-187) by Professor J. A. Sayer:

“Many of us have felt for years that there is a need to foster the emergence of a cadre of professional conservationists equivalent to that found in other areas of development assistance.  Professionalism requires the accumulation of knowledge and experience and Julian Caldecott’s book is the sort of systematic account of different approaches to conservation which is needed if professionalism is to be fostered.  The book is a synthesis of his personal experience covering a number of major conservation initiatives in all three tropical regions.  The accounts are well referenced and give useful analysis of the social, political and biophysical environments with which conservation projects had to deal.  It is an authoritative account of some very important conservation initiatives in a period when a great deal of new thinking was taking place about the way in which conservation could be reconciled with development imperatives.  Caldecott’s book is therefore an accurate and useful account of what has been attempted in a number of important areas over the past decade … Caldecott himself is a leading authority on his subject and his views are worth taking note of.”

TEG News ( “Anyone studying conservation (especially for tropical areas) should read this book and learn its lessons … there is a great deal of material that teachers could use to show how conservation works on the ground (it would also work as an excellent base for role play as well!).'”