There are numerous case studies around the world describing integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs). Recently some localised syntheses have been published that use sophisticated statistics to identify patterns and causal linkages, but no attempt has yet been made to draw together lessons from across the globe. This paper is an attempt to provide a framework for such an analysis. A set of lessons is proposed for improving the prospects of ICDPs by giving consideration to each of the five capitals: natural, social, human, built, and financial. The language of ICDPs has been adopted by development agencies of all persuasions. There is now some urgency to identify the characteristics of the environment and the community in which success is most likely. This paper is intended as a step in that direction.