Repository logo

Voluntary non-monetary approaches for implementing conservation

Change log


Santangeli, A 
Arroyo, B 
Dicks, LV 
Herzon, I 
Kukkala, AS 


The voluntary non-monetary approach to conservation refers to actions that citizens or organizations could voluntarily implement in their area of influence without the incentive of monetary compensations. To be effectively implemented by untrained actors, actions should be clearly defined, straightforward to implement and not require specific scientific knowledge. The costs of actions should also be sufficiently affordable to be widely applied without monetary incentives. A voluntary non-monetary approach has so far not been clearly described as a distinct group of tools for nature conservation. Here we review the scarce scientific literature on the topic. To illustrate the applicability of a voluntary non-monetary approach to conservation, we then investigate its potential for farmland conservation. We considered a list of 119 actions available from “conservation-evidence”, a source of systematically collected evidence on effectiveness of conservation actions. Among 119 actions, 95 could be scored for feasibility of implementation, costs, and existence of evidence in UK, Spain and Finland. Sixteen to seventeen actions were potentially suitable for implementation by a voluntary non-monetary approach. This implies that the voluntary non-monetary approach could be widely applicable across many countries and environments. It is our hope that this study will represent a clarion call for conservation scientists to clearly recognize the voluntary non-monetary approach, its characteristics, and its potential for addressing conservation issues on private land. Adoption of such voluntary measures may be more dependent on encouragement (‘nudging’) than on the usual coercive or financial emphasis (‘shoving’).



Citizen science, Conservation action, Conservation cost, Conservation feasibility, Evidence-based conservation, Private land

Journal Title

Biological Conservation

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Elsevier BV
Natural Environment Research Council (NE/K015419/1)
Natural Environment Research Council (NE/F008627/1)
For support we thank Kone Foundation [A.S. and A.M.], the ERC-StG Grant 260393 (GEDA) [A.M.], the Finnish Natural Heritage Services (Metsähallitus) [A.M.], the Academy of Finland Centre of excellence program 2012-2017 [A.M., A.S., A.K.], Arcadia [W.J.S], Natural Environment Research Council [L.V.D. was supported under the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) Programme, grant code 14 NE/K015419/1], Emil Aaltonen Foundation [I.H.], and Proyectos Cero Especies Amenazadas - Steppeahead funded by Fundación General CSIC and Banco Santander [B.A.]. We also thank three anonymous referees and the editor for insightful comments that helped improve this work.