Standard Measures of Effectiveness and Threats for Wildlife Conservation in Central Africa

Overview of a New Publication Providing Guidance for USFWS Grant Applicants

To achieve the greatest conservation benefit through its international wildlife grants programs, USFWS and its partners monitor and evaluate funded projects to determine what works, what doesn’t, and to adapt as needed. USFWS has proposed a system to standardize this monitoring for its Central Africa program, so that data can be easily aggregated and compared across regions and projects. USFWS intends to measure short-term, immediate effects from conservation actions, as well as long-term impacts, to decide whether adjustments are needed, and if the action is contributing to meaningful reduction of threats to wildlife and habitats.

Table 1 . Standard Actions and Threats Covered in the Guidance

Commonly-Funded Actions

Common Threats

  1. Set up and manage patrols
  2. Training and capacity development
  3. Partner engagement
  4. Wildlife law compliance & enforcement
  5. Protected area designation
  6. Public campaigns
  7. Applied conservation research
  8. Promote Best Management Practices (BMPs) for extractive industries
  1. Commercial bushmeat hunting
  2. Elephant poaching
  3. Incompatible extractive industry practices
  4. Road construction in sensitive areas
  5. Agricultural encroachment
  6. Wildlife disease
  7. Sea turtle harvesting & bycatch
  8. Removal of animals from the wild for the pet trade


Standard Measures for Conservation Effectiveness & Threat Status
Conservation actions are undertaken to reach a project’s objectives and conservation goals. Table 1 lists the eight most commonly funded actions in the USFWS Central Africa portfolio. Each of these actions assumes that a number of causal linkages (i.e. if-then relationships) will eventually lead to a positive conservation outcome. USFWS and partners developed theories of change that lay out these assumed causal linkages for commonly-funded actions. To measure effectiveness, USFWS has proposed indicators that are directly tied to various points along the theory of change, so that USFWS grantees can report on incremental progress. The guidance document provides a series of questions to help grantees with this reporting. The document also identifies indicators for the eight most common threats to wildlife in Central Africa (Table 1). For those applicants who want more conceptual background, the report and its appendices provide greater detail, including a user’s guide to applying this guidance to USFWS proposal writing. All applicants of cooperative agreements are required to incorporate the Service’s guidance on project evaluation.  All other applicants are encouraged, but not required, to do so.

To find out more about this project, please contact Matt Muir ( The full document can be downloaded here.