Understanding when, how, and why conservation goes to scale

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 11
Organizers: Arundhati Jagadish, Yifan He
Chairs: Arundhati Jagadish


The ever-ever increasing scale of environmental concerns poses significant challenges to conservation initiatives' ability to address biodiversity loss, climate change, and other sustainability issues. In particular, conservation planners and practitioners have struggled to match the scale of their initiatives to that of the environmental problems they aim to address. However, a few recent examples of conservation initiatives rapidly spreading across land and seascapes can offer insights on what scales, where, and how.

Diffusion of innovation theory -- the study of how, why, and at what rate ideas and practices are adopted by individuals, groups, organizations or countries (Rogers 2003, Wejnert 2002) - provides a novel lens through which to examine rates and patterns associated with establishment of conservation policies, programs, and practices (Mascia and Mills 2018). Drawing on the Diffusion of Innovation theory, this session interrogates when, how, and why conservation initiatives are adopted and the factors that shape rates and patterns of their spread.

The session will consist of five papers (12-minute presentations including Q&A) followed by a discussion. The case studies in this session are diverse in context (USA, Fiji, Chile, Nepal, and Kenya); method (qualitative and quantitative), and type of conservation initiatives (privately protected area, locally managed marine area, community forests). Collectively, they highlight the emerging insights into how and why conservation initiatives spread, and the importance of designing and implementing conservation initiatives to scale appropriately.


1. Rogers, E. M. Diffusion of Innovations. (Free Press, 2003).
2. Wejnert, B. Integrating Models of Diffusion of Innovations: A Conceptual Framework. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 28, 297–326 (2002).
3. Mascia, M. B. & Mills, M. When conservation goes viral: The diffusion of innovative biodiversity conservation policies and practices. Conserv. Lett. 11, 1–9 (2018).


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Yifan He*, University of California - Santa Barbara; Conservation International , Christoph Nolte, Boston University, Michael Mascia, Conservation International, Morena Mills, Imperial College London, How do conservation initiatives spread over space and time? 12 9:35 AM
Presenter Arundhati Jagadish*, Conservation International, Morena Mills, Imperial College London, Michael B. Mascia, Conservation International, Alifereti Tawake, LMMA Network International, Hugh Govan, University of South Pacific, Sangeeta Mangubhai, Wildlife Conservation Society, Tanya O'Garra, Middlesex University, Exploring patterns and trends in the establishment of locally managed marine areas in Fiji 12 9:47 AM
Presenter Zara Ahmad*, N/A, Morena Mills , Imperial College London , The diffusion of innovations in conservation: an investigation into the adoption of Northern Rangelands Trust community conservancies in Kenya. 12 9:59 AM
Presenter Zoya Husain*, , Community Forestry in Nepal 12 10:11 AM
Presenter Elisa Denis*, , Understanding the Drivers of Adoption and Abandonment in Conservation: An Analysis of Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries in Chile 12 10:23 AM
Discussant Morena Mills Imperial College London 15 10:35 AM

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