It has been recognised for many years, that if conservation actions are to have the desired impact and effect lasting change, there has to be a suitable ‘enabling environment’. This includes factors such as informed communities, appropriate legal and policy frameworks, effective individuals and organisations, good leadership and governance, availability of knowledge and understanding of natural systems, etc. But beyond this context (which is a universal background for all conservation organisations and agencies), ERT Conservation is now promoting a new operational model that we have called ‘Real Conservation’. It involves ensuring that our work recognises and incorporates five 'real' and scale-independent assumptions about the contexts in which we work. Specifically, within the time frame of most current conservation planning and actions:
- Human populations will continue to grow and increase their impact on natural systems and resources.
- Social, cultural and industrial attitudes and behaviours will change more slowly than required for the success of most conservation actions, and some may never be changed.
- Economic sustainability will not be achieved by most (all?) societies.
- The provision of conservation capacity and evidence (monitoring, research, evaluation) will lag behind an ever growing ‘need’ for such knowledge and information.
- Funding for conservation from private or government sources will proportionately decrease.