Recommended tools for designing a conservation management plan

Core Guidance

Performance Standard 1: Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts – IFC
Performance Standard 1 establishes the importance of (i) integrated assessment to identify the environmental and social impacts, risks, and opportunities of projects; (ii) effective community engagement through disclosure of project-related information and consultation with local communities on matters that directly affect them; and (iii) the client’s management of environmental and social performance throughout the life of the project.

Performance Standard 6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources – IFC
Performance Standard 6 recognizes that protecting and conserving biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem services, and sustainably managing living natural resources are fundamental to sustainable development. The requirements set out in this Performance Standard have been guided by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Further substantive guidance is available in the associated Guidance Note 1 and Guidance Note 6. For more information on the IFC Performance Standards, see

Ecoregions – WWF
In the first section of a VCA Management Plan, managers must identify the predominant ‘ecoregion’ in which their area is located, as a general description of the area. WWF explains that “the boundaries of an ecoregion are not fixed and sharp, but rather encompass an area within which important ecological and evolutionary processes must strongly interact.” For the VCA Registry, it provides a basic description of the area. Also see


Good Practices for the Collection of Biodiversity Baseline Data – MFI & CSBI
A comprehensive guide on how to collect Biodiversity Baseline Data.

Rapid Assessment Programme (RAP) Logistics Manual – CI
Detailed guidelines for undertaking a species-focused baseline assessment developed by Conservation International.

Biodiversity Impact Assessment Tool Box – CCBA & Forest Trends
Includes guidance on assessing the initial biodiversity and threat conditions before the establishment of a REDD+ project, with an emphasis on vegetation.

Guidelines for the Rapid Ecological Assessment of Biodiversity in Inland Water, Coastal and Marine Areas – Ramsar & CBD
Although these guidelines focus on wetlands, they provide useful guidance for how to conduct a rapid, desktop baseline assessment which is required for area managers submitting a VCA Proposal.

Conservation Outlook Assessments – IUCN
A standardized methodology for desk-based Conservation Outlook Assessments for natural World Heritage sites, providing area-based guidance for a biodiversity baseline assessment. Also see Conservation Outlook Assessment Worksheets


Biodiversity Action Plan: Guidelines For Business – Notice Nature
A short introductory flyer focused on corporate sites.

Conservation Action Planning – TNC
Two-page introduction to The Nature Conservancy’s approach to adaptive conservation management at the project level. Also see

Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation – CMP
Provides the steps and general guidance necessary for the successful implementation of conservation projects. Though the guidance does not explicitly address sustainable use, it provides an excellent framework for designing a Conservation Management Plan. Also see

A Cross-Sector Guide for Implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy – CSBI
Provides practical guidance, innovative approaches and examples to support operationalizing the biodiversity mitigation hierarchy, aimed for biodiversity professional working with extractive industries and financial institutions.