• Introduction

    Action planning is a common approach for planning, implementing and measuring success for conserving biodiversity. Some action plans describe the commitment of a country or region to protect their biodiversity. To date, 173 signatory parties (countries) have developed National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) as the principal instrument for implementing the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) at the national level. The plans describe the countries biological resources and detail a plan to protect those resources. Individual countries sometimes produce their own national action plans for specific threatened species found within their borders. The species range may extend beyond the countries borders but the plan represents that particular country’s commitment to protect the species. Known as National Great Ape Survival Plans (NGASPs), these plans aim to provide a strategic framework to new and on-going conservation efforts within each great ape range state (e.g., DRC, 2005).

    Other action plans describe what it will take to ensure the survival of a taxonomic group or species throughout its range. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission produces such action plans and since 1987, has published over 60. The SSC Action Plan series assess the conservation status of a species and their habitat, and outline conservation priorities. They are compiled by the SSC’s Specialist Groups, and are considered to be the world’s most authoritative source of species-related conservation information. IUCN/SSC has produced several action plans that either includes species of great apes within a more general action plan for primates of a region (Oates, 1986; Eudey, 1987) or more recently, directly address one or more species of great apes (IUCN, in prep; Kormos & Boesch, 2003; Kormos et al., 2003; Maldonado et al., (in prep); Morgan et al., 2011; Oates et al., 2005; Plumptre et al., 2010; Soehartono et al., 2009; Tutin et al., 2005).

    IUCN species action plans act as a compendium of Specialist Group knowledge and expertise on species information in a framework for conservation action to guide future activities. They elaborate on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species by describing current threats, actions that need to be taken, and their order of priority. As such they provide a baseline to measure change in status and conservation actions taken to reduce the risk of extinction. Action plans detail the rationale, information and recommendations that need to be conveyed to galvanise support. They provide a common framework and focus for a wide range of players, from governmental level decision-makers, to protected area managers, the implementers of conservation activities, to donors who will fund them. They can be used as an aid to fundraising and help guide decisions concerning resource allocation.

  • How can action planning help ape conservation?

  • Are there also negative aspects of active planning for great apes/challenges/issues?

  • How is action planning implemented /applied in practice?

Compiled and edited 2011 by Kay H. Farmer
Reviewed by Hjalmar Kuehl, Josephine Head and Neba Funwi-Gabga

  • References