CPSG and the One Plan approach


The One Plan approach to species conservation is the development of management strategies and conservation actions by all responsible parties for all populations of a species, whether inside or outside their natural range. This holistic framework for species conservation planning was developed by the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG). CPSG’s mission is to save threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide. The group has been using scientifically sound, collaborative processes that bring together people with diverse perspectives and knowledge to catalyze positive conservation change for over 40 years.

CPSG is ICPC’s partner, guide, & inspiration!


The One Plan approach is also known as “integrated conservation planning”, and features direct involvement of as many stakeholders as possible – fishers, farmers, local community leaders, conservation scientists, relevant NGO representatives, government wildlife managers, and other experts with relevant expertise, such as veterinarians – combined with science-based decision making to create a species or population conservation action plan (Byers et al. 2013).

Integrated conservation planning takes advantage of a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise, with stakeholders and conservation scientists working together to consider critically needed conservation measures. The range of potential conservation measures considered can include both in situ and ex situ measures. The resulting action plan is considered an integrated conservation plan, even if after careful consideration of all available resources, no ex situ conservation measures are determined to be justified or necessary.

From Lees et al. 2021: Fig. 3. Integrated conservation plans help bend the curve!

Science-based, stakeholder-inclusive and participatory conservation planning helps reverse the decline of threatened species


A new paper by Lees et al. (2021) assessed the impact of conservation planning initiatives for 35 species conservation plans completed in 23 countries over 13 years using information from the IUCN SSC database, and matched them with independently generated Red List assessments of extinction risk.

This study compared the overall predicted extinction trend without planning with the observed trend after planning. Post-planning, threatened species declines continued, but gradually slowed, and then reversed, with an upward trend of recovery within 15 years. No species became extinct. Simulations indicated outcomes would have been worse without the planning intervention; around eight species would have become extinct over that timeframe.

CPSG’s Guiding Principles


Well-designed and executed species conservation planning that adheres to CPSG’s seven core principles can improve existing efforts and stimulate greater ambition, collaboration and resourcing. Underpinning this philosophy is a commitment to the One Plan approach: the collaborative development of management strategies and conservation actions by all responsible parties to produce one comprehensive conservation plan for the species. The result is an integrated conservation plan that mobilizes the full suite of skills and resources available to species in trouble, giving them a better chance at a future in the wild.

• Promote inclusive participation

• Use sound science

• Ensure good design and neutral facilitation

• Reach decisions through consensus

• Generate and share products quickly

• Adapt to changing circumstances

IUCN SSC’s  Ex situ guidelines


The IUCN Species Survival Commission published the “Guidelines on the Use of Ex situ Management for Species Conservation” (IUCN 2014), developed by CPSG members working with representatives from all SSC Subcommittees, which provides guidance on if, when, and how to employ ex situ measures in a species conservation plan, the precise role(s) that the ex situ measures could play, and how to thoroughly integrate those activities into the overall conservation plan for the species. This integration can optimize environmental stewardship to decrease the risk of extinction. Such measures must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, including a risk-averse cost/benefit analysis, transparency, and participation of a diverse set of stakeholders.