Science and Practice #11: Systems thinking and inclusive conservation with Shauna Mahajan

In this episode, Michael speaks with with Shauna Mahajan, lead social scientist with the global science team of the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF. 

During their conversation, Shauna shares her thoughts about her educational experiences and her time at WWF, during which she has focused on helping conservation projects become more inclusive and holistic. Shauna has done this in part by developing decision support tools, including a tool called Elinor, so named in honor of Elinor Ostrom. This tool helps researchers and practitioners, in the language of the Elinor website, “track attributes critical to the success of area-based conservation over time, and share this information with decision makers and conservation supporters”.  Shauna also discusses her experiences on the ground to support inclusive and holistic conservation, and a new program at WWF that is encouraging the career development of underrepresented groups at the organization.

Shauna’s website:


Deveson, A. (2005). Resilience (First Edition). Roundhouse Publishing Group.

Mahajan, S. L., Estradivari, E., Ojwang, L., & Ahmadia, G. N. (2022). The good, the bad, and the ugly: reflections on co-designing science for impact between the Global South and Global North. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal Du Conseil.

Mahajan, S. L., Glew, L., Rieder, E., Ahmadia, G., Darling, E., Fox, H. E., Mascia, M. B., & McKinnon, M. (2019). Systems thinking for planning and evaluating conservation interventions. Conservation Science and Practice, 1(7).