What is it:

This guidebook seeks to be a living resource aimed at integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles into conservation efforts amidst the challenges posed by climate change. Developed by stakeholders representing historically underserved communities, including producers, conservation professionals, and supporting organizations, this guidebook serves as a crucial tool for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office staff and partners. It offers actionable guidance tailored to each phase of the nine step conservation planning process, with a particular emphasis on addressing the specific needs of historically underserved producers and communities. 

Rooted in insights gleaned from inclusive roundtable discussions and designed to foster trust and productive relationships, this guidebook represents a significant step toward building a more resilient and equitable conservation movement. By embracing DEI considerations and leveraging community-led solutions, this guidebook seeks to empower local communities in spearheading their own conservation initiatives, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable future for all. 

What's Inside:

  • Background, Historical Context, and Considerations

    • Goal and Purpose

    • Methodology and Other Key Considerations

    • History of Conservation Technical Assistance and Historically Underserved Producers

  • Barriers to the Nine-Step Conservation Planning Process

  • Guidance for Conservation Professionals

    • Preparatory Phase

    • Phase I: Collection and Analysis

    • Phase II: Decision Support

    • Phase III: Application and Evaluation

  • Appendices

    • Glossary/Table of Terms 

    • Acronyms

    • National Recommendations

    • Additional Resources

How to use it:

While the guidebook makes recommendations based on the NRCS's nine-step conservation planning process, they are applicable to conservation work across all sectors. Read through the recommendations for each phase of the planning process and think about how you could intentionally incorporate them into your work. 

As you will read about in the guidebook, an important part of integrating DEI principles into your work is to first commit to a personal journey in understanding and navigating DEI work. While this guidebook is by no means comprehensive, you can use it and the additional resources provided to start this journey. 


This guidebook was created in partnership with Meridian Institute and with funding from the USDA NRCS. Project Agreement Number: NR223A750003C078