Conservation Benchmarks uses common-sense analytic, communications, and planning tools to improve natural resources management and the overall health of the land, its flora and fauna, and the people who are its stewards. 

The Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland observed, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The same holds true in natural resource conservation and land management. Determining the status quo, identifying practical alternatives, establishing best practices, measuring change, and evaluating progress – these five principles lie at the core of the Conservation Benchmarks approach.


"To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed." 



Benchmark image: © Martin and Jean Norgate, Portsmouth University Geography Department

Benchmark image: © Martin and Jean Norgate, Portsmouth University Geography Department



The use of benchmarks goes back hundreds of years, originating as a set of marks chiseled into stone that British surveyors used as a reference points for the calculation of heights and altitudes. Commonly a horizontal line with a vertical arrow marked the point of reference (see photo). 

Lichens are frequently found on benchmarked stones. Lichens are composite, symbiotic organisms (usually a fungus and a photosynthetic partner such as green algae) coexisting in such a way as to be more successful within the partnership than if they were living separately on their own. Successful natural resource management also depends on partnerships and mutual coexistence which is why lichens are also part of the Conservation BenchMarks brand.