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Using the conservation excellence model to improve ecosystem restoration programmes of conservation organisations across biodiversity hotspots

International Journal of Avian & Wildlife Biology
Erwin J Amavassee, Marianne AG Lee, Grace Ingram, Simon A Black

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Ecosystem restoration is a relatively new discipline in conservation biology and good practice is needed to close the knowledge-action gap to implement evidence-based conservation and effective landscape recovery. The Conservation Excellence Model (CEM) has been used to evaluate over 100 conservation organisations including programmes involved in reforestation and ecosystem renewal. This study evaluates a reforestation initiative in Mauritius using the CEM methodology and compares the programme’s organisation with an equivalent Indian Ocean Island programme in Comoros. This study aims to identify whether improvements in reforestation can be identified by CEM evaluation, whether recommendations for these specific reforestation programmes generate learning about effective practices in the sector, and whether the CEM is a relevant tool for comparing effectiveness of reforestation initiatives. The Mauritius programme is shown to utilise sound approaches, whilst being a relatively new organisation (with a profile of more than 350 points), yet can still make improvements already implemented and observed in its Comorian equivalent, which will enable significant improvement in approach and results in the future. The findings identify the importance of addressing threats and factors influencing ecosystem degradation, ensuring links between agricultural and reforestation goals, involvement of local communities, resilient management teams, and having teams based on local staff. CEM assessment provides a rapid, low-intensity approach to investigate connections and facilitate improvements in organisational practice, enhancement of conservation and restoration work, and enabling more purposeful focus of effort to ensure advances in achievement, outcomes and impact of reforestation initiatives. 


ecosystem restoration; biodiversity conservation; performance evaluation; benchmarking; improvement; biodiversity hotspots; conservation excellence model