What is the Conservation Hierarchy
A united framework for action
Ultimately, the conservation hierarchy can unite a multitude of conservation actions, including existing tools and process, under one framework. This can help to integrate the multiple elements of diverse conservation goals towards an aspirational apex goal.
Example tools and processes - Avoid
Screen potential impacts on biodiversity prior to undertaking an activity, and select alternate sites or activities. E.g. establishing development ‘no go’ zones, IUCN Category 1 protected areas; Alliance Zero Extinction Sites; Key Biodiversity Areas, Wilderness Areas, fishery closures and no-take zones.
Example tools and processes - Minimise
Screen methods, processes, and technology used during an activity, and select those that are least damaging. E.g. environmentally friendly farming, selective fishing gears to reduce bycatch, multi-use protected areas, certification and eco-labeling of food products, green infrastructure.
Example tools and processes - Remediate
Correct for negative impacts on nature within footprint of an activity. E.g. replanting cleared vegetation, improved handling and live release of bycaught marine species in fisheries, re-seeding, re-spawning, re-stocking and re-wilding
Example tools and processes - Offset
Undertaking conservation actions outside the footprint of the damaging activity which improve the status of the damaged biodiversity, but would not have occurred otherwise. E.g. like-for-like ecosystem restoration away from impact site, captive breeding and release, invasive species removal, payments for ecosystem services to protect like-for-like nature elsewhere.
Example tools and processes - Proactive Conservation Actions
Undertake conservation actions to proactively create positive outcomes for nature, independent of damaging activities. E.g. proactive protection of nature and ecosystems, such as the 30x30 initiative and Voluntary National Commitments. Include actions which indirectly benefit biodiversity, such as improving regulatory frameworks, combatting illegal wildlife trade, applied conservation research, education and behaviour change campaigns.
At the same time, the Conservation Hierarchy allows for differentiated pathways towards united goals.