Innovative Conservation Science to Meet the Challenges of our Time
Last December, 196 countries met in Montreal, Canada for the UN Biodiversity COP15 with the goal of creating a new global framework for nature conservation—providing a rallying point for transformative change.
The Nature Conservancy calls for global agreement to curb the drivers of wildlife and habitat loss and leverage nature-based solutions for climate. The following science shows it’s possible to make these changes at scale and to create a future that’s truly durable for people and the planet.
Learn more about our Nature Now global policy campaign at nature.org/naturenow.
Biodiversity + Climate Change
Two crises pose a serious threat to life on Earth: the climate change crisis and the nature crisis. They are intrinsically linked. Natural ecosystems play a fundamental role in climate change mitigation, from strengthening the capacity of low-lying areas to withstand storms, to building resilience to drought, floods and fire.
Why Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains give wildlife room to roam in the face of climate change.
One of the most powerful ways trees can help mitigate global climate change may also be one of the most overlooked: letting nature takes its course.
New science shows that remnant forests with the greatest tree-species richness also store the most carbon, creating a potential win-win for protecting biodiversity and reducing global carbon emissions.
30X30 Protected Areas
TNC supports a new deal for nature calling for 30 percent of ocean, land and water to be managed as intact and fully functional natural ecosystems. It’s not enough to draw lines on a map—we need to improve the design, management, financing and interconnectivity of these critical areas that sustain us all.
Solutions to the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change may require entwined solutions framed by “Nature and Equity.”
To be equitable, market-based climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation solutions must also consider gender at their core.
Scientists offer 7 key principles to help achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2050 vision: living in harmony with nature.
Biodiversity + Protected Areas
Protections should be placed in areas scientifically identified as having the highest conservation value and that represent the planet’s biodiversity. But protected areas alone are not enough without science-based management. A protected area that has lost most of its large mammals, birds and trees through illegal activities cannot fully contribute to reducing extinction rates.
Sustaining global biodiversity requires broadening the area-based conservation toolkit beyond protected areas.
Maps that display migration data with the human connections and livelihoods can help advance sustainable conservation.
The upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting, and adoption of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, represent an opportunity to […]
Biodiversity + Indigenous Knowledge
Scientific evidence shows us that indigenous peoples and local communities are often more effective conservation stewards than government-funded protected area agencies. Indigenous owned and managed lands and waters should receive recognition and support for their role in achieving biodiversity conservation targets.
A new analysis reveals the importance of indigenous lands to global mammal conservation.
New research is the first of its kind to incorporate indigenous knowledge into predictive species distribution maps.
What does an effective, community-based freshwater conservation program look like?
Biodiversity + Siting
Very little of the planet is truly “untouched”—95 percent of the Earth’s surface outside of the polar regions has been modified by humans. Whether it’s clearing land to grow crops and build cities, or fragmenting habitats with highways and railroads, human development has changed the surface of the planet in a variety of ways.
The ongoing transformation of the U.S.’s energy systems creates a compelling opportunity to build the energy infrastructure of the future.
With careful planning, the U.S. could produce needed solar energy and still protect lands important for animal movement and migration.
Energy and mining could convert nearly as much land as agriculture by 2050 – including nearly 80% of all projected expansion into the world’s most intact natural lands.
Biodiversity + Cities
Science to help plan cities with nature in mind. With nearly 70 percent of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, cities are swelling to accommodate newcomers. It is and will be necessary to integrate biodiversity protection into development, but a new deal for nature should establish national incentives for nature-based solutions in urban areas.
New science shows where science-based urban planning could save species, turn cities into biodiversity hubs, and save land for nature.
Scientists don’t know much about how human cities affect other species.
Rich biodiversity can exist in the biggest of cities, as a new report finds for Los Angeles.
Biodiversity + The Ocean
Science to protect, restore and manage marine ecosystems by creating high seas and coastal havens where nature can regenerate and fortify itself against climate change and other threats.
Oceans sustain life on this planet. Ocean ecosystems provide seafood that one in seven people in the world rely on […]
Opportunities to Improve Fisheries Management through Innovative Technology and Advanced Data Systems
In this study, published in Fish and Fisheries, the authors describe the current status, challenges and future directions of high-tech data systems […]
As climate change upends ecosystems, including fisheries, scientists are moving beyond documenting the impacts to recommending actions to mitigate and adapt to those impacts.
Biodiversity + Fresh Water
Protect and restore ecosystem function in watersheds (e.g., water funds) to provide access to safe drinking water and be a safe haven for wildlife and a resilient buffer to climate change.
A new paper details the conservation success of community-led freshwater reserves in Thailand.
Conservation in India may conjure images of tigers and forests, but the country has some of the most diverse freshwater ecosystems on the planet.
Marine fisheries are well known for their ability to produce food. But rivers and lakes are vital to food security too.
Biodiversity + Agriculture
Science for Sustainable Food Production. When it comes to the climate and biodiversity crises, the agricultural sector is both challenge and solution. Science shows many of the most productive approaches to farming work with nature and promote mutually beneficial relationships between food production and the ecological processes that sustain it.
A new paper examines how farmer attitudes towards birds affect on-farm conservation practices.
What can stressed-out birds tell us about conservation and agriculture?
Biodiversity + Restoration
Science for restoring lost habitats and reducing future impacts. Humanity has left a significant mark on roughly half of the Earth’s lands beyond the polar regions, as well as the majority of the global ocean. To reach biodiversity goals, we need to protect nature in areas outside of wilderness, such as cities and farms.
New research identifies tropical countries where targeted investment can have the greatest impact on reducing global emissions in the short term.