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.

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


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


Collaborative governance and co-management best practices

May 2021: On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the Conservation Solutions Lab held a virtual member meeting for researchers and practitioners worldwide on the topic of “Collaborative Governance and Co-Management Best Practices.” This half day session included a range of presentations and discussions including community-based wildlife crime prevention, horizontal co-production of sustainability solutions, incorporating multiple knowledge systems into conservation solutions, and benefit sharing in REDD+. Dialogues melded research, theory, and practical experience with presentations from the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, One People One Reef, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, DAI, Chemonics and ASU. If you are interested in the CSL and future events, please contact the conservation solutions leadership team.

East Africa Conservation Solutions Lab meeting in Kenya

February 2020: Building on CSL discussions, and with the support of a number of CSL members, Chemonics and the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) organized a summit about moving from “community engagement” to community-led conservation solutions in Africa. Held 11-14 February 2020 at the Mt. Kenya Safari Lodge, Nanyuki, Kenya, the summit was designed to provide a forum for dialogue on the central role of communities to conservation success, their current challenges and impact, and to generate new ideas for the future of communities in driving sustainable conservation outcomes in East Africa and beyond. The summit report is being distributed to participants and will be available through the CSL websites on Chemonics and ASU sites (or by demand) as developed. In the meantime, this video provides a great synopsis of the event.

Rethinking conservation approaches in the age of COVID-19

August 2020: On August 31, 2020, members of the Conservation Solutions Lab published a commentary piece on Mongabay titled “Communities, conservation, and development in the age of COVID: Time for rethinking approaches.” In this article, the authors advocate for systemic, long-term solutions to existing biodiversity conservation and sustainable economic development challenges aggravated by the current pandemic.

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

September 2019: 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 Leadership

Portrait of Candice Carr Kelman

Candice Carr Kelman

Clinical Assistant Professor

School of Sustainability

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Brian App

Director, Environment and Natural Resources, East and Southern Africa

Chemonics International

Conservation Solutions operations

Arielle Berghammer-Zeigler

Senior Specialist, Innovation and Development Research, Chemonics International

Hailey Doughtery

Practice Specialist, Environment and Natural Resources, Chemonics International

Marvie Javed

Practice Specialist, Environment and Natural Resources, Chemonics International

Alejandro López Serrano

Senior Associate, Environment and Natural Resources, Chemonics International

Peggy Ochandarena

Director, Development Research, Chemonics International

Conservation Solutions former co-directors

Michael Brown

Consultant, Satya Development International, LLC

Samantha Cheng

Biodiversity Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Conservation Solutions members

Robin Abell

Freshwater Lead, Conservation International

Jonathan Adams

Author, Island Press

Rimjhim Aggarwal

Associate Professor, School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures

Beth Allgood

Founder and President, One Nature

Alejandro Arrivillaga

Chemonics International

Rajesh Buch

Business Development Director, Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service

Megha Budruk

Associate Professor, Parks and Recreation Program, School of Community Resources and Development

Nalini Chhetri

Clinical Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures

Nicole Crane

Executive Director, One People One Reef

Felix Gaschick

Biodiversity and Forestry Specialist, Chemonics International

Leah Gerber

Founding Director, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation

Marco Janssen

Professor, School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures

Jack Kittinger

Research Professor, School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures

Simon Pierre Lhoest

Postdoctoral Researcher, BAEF Fellow, Conseration Innovation Lab, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

Chuan Liao

Assistant Professor, School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures

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, College of Global Futures

Robin Martino

Deputy Chief of Party, Biodiversity Results and Integrated Development Gains Enhanced (BRIDGE) Project, DAI

Greg Minnick

Project Management Director, Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Business Unit, Chemonics International

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

Melissa Rickman Boucher

Operations Director, Global Health Division, Chemonics International

Michael Schoon

Associate Professor, School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures

Nick Souter

Freshwater Senior Manager, Cambodia, Conservation International

Eleanor Sterling

Jaffe Cheif Conservation Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Jim Tolisano

Director of Innovations, Conservation LLC

Julie Viollaz

Editorial Board Member, Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Christine Vogt

Emeritus 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

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Claire Zuazo

Director, Chemonics International


The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

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.


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.


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

Engaging 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.