In recent years there has been a significant shift in global conservation priorities and strategies. Some of the world’s biggest conservation groups have jettisoned their emphasis on species and habitat protection, focusing instead on “ecosystem services” and other benefits nature affords humanity as well as partnerships with corporations to “green” industrial supply chains. Business consultants are replacing conservation biologists in several prominent conservation organizations.

Critics argue that the trend toward human-centric conservation forces too many compromises and risks undermining efforts to protect nature for nature’s sake. Supporters of the anthropocentric approach say the change is necessary to address the daunting challenges facing both humanity and the planet.

Mongabay’s “evolving conservation” reporting initiative will explore this dichotomy, seeking to understand the merits of differing approaches to conservation, where the sector is headed, and what is clearly working and not working. We’re especially interested in stories focusing on new developments in the conservation of tropical forests and wildlife that examine:

  • how conservation groups are changing their tactics and the new economic and philosophical currents driving these changes
  • emerging ideas and technologies that are changing how conservation is practiced on the ground
  • novel strategies to preserve biodiversity
  • how traditional conservation approaches based around charismatic species are evolving
  • tensions and alignments between corporations/capitalism and conservation
  • zero deforestation commitments, including their effectiveness in maintaining forest cover and biodiversity
  • certification schemes for sustainably produced commodities, including their effectiveness in preventing habitat loss

We welcome proposals from experienced journalists for reported stories. Opinion pieces will not be considered. Proposals may describe stand-alone articles or a series of articles on a particular thread. However, Mongabay will negotiate all fees and contracts on a per story basis.

Completed stories will be featured on and pay on a per word basis. We will also offer a bonus to journalists who proactively get their stories republished in major third-party print media outlets and on sites that draw more than 100,000 unique visitors per month, with a special emphasis on articles published in Spanish/Portuguese/English. We are especially looking for journalists able to write bilingual stories, and with major contacts in international and Spanish/Portuguese print and online media.

Small sums are available to help defray travel costs, mostly within the Latin American region. However, some international travel funds may be offered to those who can guarantee advance article placement with major global media outlets.

Please submit your Evolving Conservation pitch here, along with your journalism resume. Pitches should be roughly 500 words in length. They should clearly explain the specific subject you would like to write about and your approach to covering it, and describe a few potential sources.