8i. CMP Actions Classification 2.0

This spreadsheet, which can be found here, contains the latest version of the Conservation Measures Partnership’s (CMP) Conservation Actions Classification, completed in June of 2016. This classification is designed to provide a simple, hiearchical, comprehensive, consistent, expandable, exclusive and scalable classification of all conservation actions (see below for explanation of these criteria).

Why do we propose classifications for threats and actions?

A key foundation of any science is a common nomenclature that practitioners can use to describe—in a mutually intelligible way—the problems they are facing and the solutions they are using. For example, if a conservation project team faces the threat of “cattle” and another “grazing” and yet another “beef production,” they may not realize that they are all dealing with the same issue. As a result, cross-project learning is difficult, and the ability to meaningfully roll-up information across projects is greatly hampered.

The taxonomies presented here began with a collaborative effort between the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and CMP to create standard classifications of direct threats and of the conservation actions conservation actors can take to counter them. CMP updated the classifications in June 2016 to incorporate lessons learned and experiences from conservation teams applying Version 1.0 across hundreds of projects around the globe.

The classifications are intended to:

  • Help conservation teams describe what is happening at their site. A team can scan these classifications and see if they recognize any threats that they may be overlooking in their analysis of the conditions at their site or get ideas for actions that they might take.
  • Facilitate cross-project learning and the development of a science of conservation. A common classification of conservation direct threats enables practitioners to search a database of conservation projects and find projects facing similar threats or using similar actions and (hopefully) to learn from their experiences.
  • Create general summaries or “roll-ups” for broader organizational purposes and/or use by senior managers, fundraisers, and external affairs staff. Summaries can tally the frequency of threats or actions across projects at various organizational scales or be combined with other information for more detailed summaries.


This classification system is rooted in work done in the early 2000s. In 2007, the Conservation Measures Partnership in conjunction with IUCN released version 1.0 of this classification. This draft was then updated slightly in Version 1.1 which was published in Conservation Biology 22: 897-911.

Given that this classification is now an international standard that is used to code data, we cannot change it too frequently. On the other hand, we do need to update this to take into account new information and learning. As a result, over the past several years, CMP has been undertaking a systematic update of the earlier versions. We consulted with numerous practitioners around the world and went through an extensive comment and feedback process, resulting in this latest version. Although we feel that this classification has substantial improvements over Version 1.1 and should be used where possible, Version 1.1 is still a valid classification that can be used where relevant. We have also provided a crosswalk for mapping Version 2.0 to 1.1.

What’s New in This Version

The Conservation Actions classification has undergone substantial revision from Version 1.1. Key changes include:

  • New Level 0 – In addition to the Level 1-3 hierarchical classifications of “families, genera and species” of actions, we have now introduced a Level 0. As shown in the following diagram, at this highest level, actions can be grouped into:
    • Target Restoration / Stress Reduction Actions
    • Behavorial Change / Threat Reduction Actions
    • Enabling Condition Actions
  • New Action Types – Whereas Version 1.1 focused primarily on direct conservation actions, the action classification now attempts to encompass all types of activities undertaken by conservation organizations. To this end, we have added new actions at all levels to describe activities such as:
    • 3 Land/Water Use Zoning & Designation
    • Research & Monitoring
    • 1 Internal Organizational Management & Administration
  • Comprehensive Level 3 (Beta) – Version 1.1 had only examples of Level 3 actions. In this version, however, we are now introducing an initial attempt to create a more comprehensive breakdown of actions at this “species” level. Our ultimate aim is to provide a more detailed way of describing and referencing conservation actions. Although we have done extensive work and some testing of this new Comprehensive Level 3, it is likely to undergo substantial revision and updating in the coming year or two. As a result, we are releasing Level 3 as a “beta version” (this beta designation does NOT apply to Levels 1 & 2).
  • Links to CAML – The theory of change behind each action in this classification can be represented in a generic results chain diagram. We are developing a catalogue of these results chains in the Conservation Actions and Measures Library (CAML). www.miradishare.org/actions
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