Supporting more holistic approaches to conservation: an interview with Kai Carter

For at least the past 20 years, there has been regular talk about the need to break down silos in conservation. The argument is straightforward: to be successful, the field must be interdisciplinary and inclusive to address the myriad issues that impact a range of stakeholders. For example, protecting an area is rarely as simple as putting a fence around a tract of land; for conservation to be sustainable in the long term, it needs, at the very least, to address the needs of wildlife and local people who live in and around the area. But in practice, the conservation sector as a whole has been slow to bring the necessary voices and expertise into the conversation. That hesitancy, or inertia, has at times left the sector open to criticism that it hasn’t moved beyond its colonial roots and, in some contexts, isn’t doing enough to address the root drivers of threats to the very places and species it aspires to protect. It can also mean missed opportunities to broaden conservation’s constituency: Connecting conservation with other positive outcomes, from health to livelihoods, gives more people more reasons to care and get involved. Sungai Utik forest in Indonesia is a source of clean drinking water, food, and medicine for the Dayak Indigenous community that protects it. Photo credit: Rhett A. Butler Kai Carter understands this well. As a program officer at the Packard Foundation’s Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation (ALC) strategy, her work focuses on supporting organizations that work at the intersection…This article was originally published on Mongabay