Saving cranes around the world with ICF

Conservation in Practice with The International Crane Foundation

Using the Conservation Standards to save cranes around the world 
by ICF

Cranes are an important bird species found all across the world and play a vital role in the maintenance of ecosystems and act as indicators of the health of wetland and grassland ecosystems. They also capture the imagination and inspire conservation action as remarkable journeys across continents symbolize the interconnectedness of ecosystems and highlight the need for international collaboration in safeguarding their habitats. Cranes are challenged by climate change, wetland and grassland loss, and illegal trade. 

The International Crane Foundation focuses on the preservation of cranes and their habitats worldwide and chose to adopt the Conservation Standards to enhance its strategic approach to global conservation efforts. The adoption of the Standards has helped foster collaboration and improvement within the conservation community. In an era where donors seek tangible outcomes rather than mere activities, the Conservation Standards provide a framework for achieving measurable and meaningful results.

“We chose the Conservation Standards for the International Crane Foundation because we really thought that it would help us think strategically about the work that we do around the world, and I wanted to be aligned with other conservation organizations that have committed to the Standards and work together to use them and improve them. I think, increasingly, they are very important to donors to see our approach using the Standards.” Says Beilfuss, President and CEO of the International Crane Foundation

By employing the Conservation Standards, organizations like the ICF can refine their mission and clarify the desired outcomes they aim to achieve. Rich underscores the importance of focusing on the end goal and working backward to ensure alignment with strategic objectives. The Conservation Standards enable organizations to evaluate their current activities and make necessary adjustments to meet their desired outcomes effectively. Utilizing the Conservation Standards requires an investment of time and effort. However, the benefits of employing this strategic framework are substantial. By honing their mission, aligning activities with desired outcomes, and demonstrating a commitment to accountability, organizations can attract donor support and foster long-term sustainability. The Conservation Standards offer a valuable tool for achieving conservation excellence.

More about the International Crane Foundation

Photo credit: Chantelle Melzer

The International Crane Foundation works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend. They provide knowledge, leadership and inspiration to engage people in resolving threats to cranes and their diverse landscapes.

Over nearly 50 years, ICF has developed unique collaborations and led effective community-based conservation programs, important research projects and innovative captive breeding and reintroduction efforts. These endeavors have inspired international cooperation, helped improve livelihoods for people around the world and lead to the protection of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands.

Download CS

The Conservation Standards is the product of inputs, field tests, and discussions among members of the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), which has final editorial authority over the Conservation Standards. Substantial input was also provided by members of the Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet) and other CMP partners.

Photo Credit: Felix Cybulla

Resource Library

A library of vetted resources designed to help teams understand and effectively use the Conservation Standards. Includes guides, case studies, journal articles, and more.

Photo Credit: Ashleigh Baker

Support CS

The biodiversity conservation community is tackling large, complex, and urgent environmental problems where the stakes are high. However, we don’t have a fully functional system to assess the effectiveness of our actions. Without more rigorous measurement of effectiveness and disciplined recording of our efforts, we cannot know or demonstrate that we are achieving desired results.

Photo Credit: Felix Cybulla

Our Collaborators

Every organization, agency, project, and individual has its own preferred set of terms. There is no right answer – the most important thing is that the members of your project team and the people with whom you work have a clear and common understanding of whatever terms you choose to use.

Photo Credit: Chris Scarffe

Contact Us

To inquire about supporting Conservation Standards (CS) or for general inquiries, please contact us at

Photo Credit: Nature Conservancy of Canada