Graphics for Conservation: How to illustrate your story


The use of maps and other figures to present data, findings and related information—to help tell a story—is an integral part of writing for conservation and related sciences. A well designed illustration presents information in a way that text cannot. Many authors struggle, however, to prepare publication quality graphics that do justice to their research and conservation work. Graphics for Conservation provides guidance on designing maps and data plots, advice on the wise use of graphics formats, and video demonstrations to help with drafting beautiful figures.

Oryx—The International Journal of Conservation ( you are using this guide for the first time, start with the section on graphics formats (Lines or dots?), followed by that on software (Tools). You could then move on to either the Maps with a message or Plots with a purpose section, depending on your needs.

Graphics for Conservation is also available in pdf format (this version does not include the video tutorials).

Development of this guide is ongoing. If there is something you would like us to add, or if you have an interesting map or plot study that you would like us to include, please let us know—there is a comments icon for this purpose at the foot of each page.

This guide grew out of experience advising authors submitting work to Oryx—The International Journal of Conservation and from the journal's Writing for Conservation workshops for the Conservation Leadership Programme.

Fauna & Flora International ( The Rufford Foundation ( The John Spedan Lewis Foundation ( for Conservation is published by Fauna & Flora International with the support of The Rufford Foundation and the John Spedan Lewis Foundation.

Text, design and graphics by Martin Fisher, with thanks to Cella Carr, Andy Cameron, Maria Luisa de Castro Fisher, Marianne Carter and the team at Scalar for help with design and related matters, Damien Fourcy and Miloslav Petrtýl for useful comments, and the helpful members of the QGIS and Veusz mailing lists.

If you find this manual helpful for preparing your figures, please kindly cite it in your work, as
Fisher, M. (2016) Graphics for Conservation: How to illustrate your story. Http://

This edition 29 March 2017

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