About

About

In late 2020 in Kunming, China, world leaders will gather to set new targets to protect nature under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). The last global targets, set in 2010, were simply not ambitious enough, and we have seen the consequences. According to the Living Planet Report (2018) in the past few decades animal populations have declined by 60%, one-fifth of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed, and we’ve lost one-half of the world’s shallow water coral reefs. Only about 15% of the world’s lands and 5% of the world’s oceans are now formally protected.

A new United Nations report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has been compiled by 500 scientists and experts and shows an alarming trend that could undermine life as we know it on Earth: “The loss of trees, grasslands and wetlands is costing the equivalent of about 10% (or $8 trillion) of the world’s annual gross domestic product (GDP), driving species extinctions, intensifying climate change and pushing the planet toward a sixth mass species extinction.” It’s clear that we must reverse this trend, and the time is now.

In 2017, 49 scientists authored a landmark paper, “An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm” that called for a Global Deal for Nature (GDN) — a companion to the Paris Climate Agreement — to promote increased habitat protection and restoration, national and regional conservation strategies, and the empowerment of indigenous peoples to protect their sovereign lands. The goal of such a deal would be to protect half the terrestrial realm to halt the extinction crisis while sustaining human livelihoods. A key concept in the paper is that each of the world’s 846 terrestrial ecoregions needs its own plan shared by the countries whose boundaries overlap its geophysical extent.

In April 2019, many of these scientists published a new paper called “A Global Deal for Nature: Guiding Principles, Milestones, and Targets" that explains why protecting half the Earth is needed, and presents a science-driven plan to save the diversity and abundance of life on Earth. It builds upon many scientific proposals for protecting key biodiversity areas and the latest climate science, calling for a milestone of at least 30% of lands protected by 2030 with an additional 20% in climate stabilization areas. It is also the first to include land, freshwater, and marine ecoregions in one global plan.

Scroll below to meet the scientists behind the paper, or click here to learn more about the science behind the proposal.

AUTHORS

The

AUTHORS

  • Eric Dinerstein

    Director of Biodiversity and Wildlife

    RESOLVE

    Dr. Eric Dinerstein is Director of the Biodiversity and Wildlife Program at RESOLVE. For much of the past 25 years he was Chief Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund. Beginning in 1975, he conducted pioneering studies of tigers and their prey and led conservation programs for large mammals, such as greater-one horned rhinoceros and Asiatic elephants. Along with Dr. Eric Wikramanayake, Eric mapped tiger conservation landscapes, designed the Terai Arc Landscape in Nepal and India, and came up with the idea of a Global Tiger Summit, staged in November 2010, to double the wild tiger population. He helped create the conservation plans for many iconic places–including the Galapagos, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Himalayas, the panda mountains of China, and the northern Great Plains of Montana. He has conservation experience in many countries and has published widely on large mammal conservation including books on rhinos and tigers.

  • Carly Vynne

    Conservation Biologist and Strategic Partner

    RESOLVE

    Carly Vynne, PhD, is principal consultant at Osprey Insights and a Strategic Partner at RESOLVE. Her efforts have focused on working with non-profits, Tribes, corporations, private foundations, and agencies to conduct biodiversity assessments and to design, fund, and implement conservation programs. She has overseen conservation planning processes in Asia, Africa, and South America, and recently established several public-private partnerships to create impactful conservation programs across the western United States and arctic Alaska. Her PhD research focused on how the maned wolf and other wide-ranging mammals used the landscape matrix in and around a protected area in the Brazilian Cerrado. At present, she is actively promoting Nature Needs Half, managing the Quick Response Fund for Nature, and helping to develop other creative solutions for how we can leave more room for nature in a rapidly changing world.

  • Enric Sala

    Explorer-in-Residence and Executive Director, Pristine Seas

    National Geographic

    Dr. Enric Sala is a former university professor who saw himself writing the obituary of ocean life, and quit academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. He founded National Geographic's Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research, and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 21 of the largest marine reserves on the planet, covering an area of over 5.3 million square km — more than half the size of Canada. Scaling the work of Pristine Seas, Enric is currently leading the National Geographic Society's Last Wild Places initiative. Enric has authored two books and more than 130 scientific publications that are widely recognized and used for real-world conservation efforts, and produced 25 documentary films.

  • Anup Joshi

    Program Coordinator and Research Associate

    University of Minnesota

    Dr. Joshi has over 12 years of experience in using remote sensing and GIS tools for mapping and monitoring forests for biodiversity conservation and natural resources management programs.  Nepal, he initiated the Baghmara Community Forest in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park, which became the model for the Buffer Zone Act of 1993. His goal is to use the latest available scientific tools to design, develop, coordinate, implement, monitor, and evaluate natural resource management strategies to maximize wildlife conservation and ecosystems services.

  • Sanjiv Fernando

    Research Associate, Biodiversity and Wildlife

    RESOLVE

    Sanjiv Fernando is a Research Associate for RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife program. He manages RESOLVE’s innovative conservation projects, researches technologies for wildlife protection, and applies data and spatial analysis to global conservation issues. His work focuses primarily on human-wildlife conflict, anti-poaching, conservation technology, habitat preservation, and landscape conservation.

  • Thomas E. Lovejoy

    Director of the Institute for Sustainable Earth and University Professor

    George Mason University

    Thomas Lovejoy is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University and Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. He has served as President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment from 2002-2008 and was the Biodiversity Chair of the Center from 2008-2013. Lovejoy was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations in the U.S. He was the first to use the term “biological diversity” and focused much of his career on the world’s tropical rainforests, in particular, the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. With three co-edited books, he is credited with founding the field of climate change biology. He also founded the series Nature, the popular long-term series on public television. With a Ph.D from Yale University, Lovejoy was won numerous academic awards and in 2019 was appointed Explorer at Large by the National Geographic Society.

  • Juan Mayorga

    Marine Data Scientist, Pristine Seas

    National Geographic Society

    Juan Mayorga is a marine data scientist, conservationist, and aspiring explorer dedicated to making a difference in the way we protect, manage, and value our oceans. Currently, Mayorga leads a partnership between Pristine Seas, the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UC Santa Barbara, and Global Fishing Watch, to harness the power of satellites and big data to accelerate marine conservation.

  • David Olson

    Director of Conservation

    WWF-Hong Kong

    David Olson has extensive experience in conservation strategy development, protected area management, biodiversity surveys, field research, community-based conservation, illegal wildlife trade and anti-poaching programs, and endangered species conservation. He has worked on projects in more than 50 countries, and served as director for several conservation science and field conservation programs around the world, including his previous position Country Director of the Zoological Society of London in Cameroon.

  • Greg Asner

    Director, Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science

    Arizona State University

    Greg Asner is the Director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University. He also serves as a Professor in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning as well as the School for Earth and Space Exploration. He is an ecologist recognized for his exploratory and applied research on ecosystems and climate change at regional to global scales. His research spans the areas of spatial ecology and biodiversity, terrestrial carbon cycle, animal-habitat interactions, and climate change. Dr. Asner has published hundreds of scientific articles and has served in numerous national and international programs with NASA, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations. Asner is a recipient of multiple scientific awards including the Heinz Award for the Environment. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

  • Jonathan Baillie

    Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist

    National Geographic Society

    Jonathan Baillie is the Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist of the National Geographic Society. He oversees Grants, Impact Initiatives, National Geographic Labs, Explorer Programs and the International team. As a leader in conservation science, he has authored several key publications on the status and trends of the world’s species and ecosystems. He was instrumental in developing the Living Planet Index, Sampled Red List Index and Wildlife Picture Index.

  • Neil Burgess

    Chief Scientist

    UNEP-WCMC (UN Environment Program – World Conservation Monitoring Center)

    Neil’s primary role as Chief Scientist is to develop the scientific work and profile of UNEP-WCMC with external partners interested in the conservation of nature, and the role data and analysis plays in this. He also oversees the Science Program and helps to publish leading scientific work at the science-policy interfaces. Neil has been working in conservation science and practice for more than 20 years, in the UK, Denmark and tropical Africa, especially eastern Africa. Much of his work has focused on habitat conservation in nature reserves in Europe and Africa through partnerships with non-governmental organizations, private foundations, state and community-based organizations.

  • Karl Burkart

    Director of Media, Science & Technology

    Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

    Karl Burkart is the Director of Media, Science & Technology at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, overseeing the foundation’s research program – spanning climate change, biodiversity and land mapping, and global food systems. Karl received his Masters degree in Architecture with a special focus on passive HVAC, energy efficiency, and environmental systems design. He was an early advocate in the green building movement and created an award-winning web tool used by architects and clients such as Kaiser Permanente to inform their sustainable design initiatives. He went on to develop several software applications that help individuals and companies better understand their environmental impact, produced and wrote the Discovery Network’s first online news show for Planet Green, and led digital advocacy for the TckTckTck campaign, a global network of 500 NGOs working to secure an international climate agreement.

  • Reed Noss

    President and Chief Scientist

    Florida Institute for Conservation Science

    Reed Noss applies conservation biology principles to real-world problems in land conservation. His primary interest is regional conservation planning – the application of science to conservation planning and management at a regional scale. He focuses on long-term maintenance of biodiversity over centuries and millennia. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Conservation Biology, Science Editor for Wild Earth magazine, and President of the Society for Conservation Biology. He is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has more than 300 publications, including eight books.

  • Yaping Zhang

    Vice-President

    Organization: Chinese Academy of Sciences

    Dr. Zhang is the Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 300 publications in scientific journals and is the author of five books. He is a member of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, and then American Genetic Association in 1998. He was also elected Vice President of Chinese Society of Genetics in 2004 and Vice President of Chinese Society of Zoology in 2005. In 2018, Dr. Zhang and Dr. Jonathan Baillie published an editorial urging governments to set minimum targets to protect 30 percent of the Earth’s oceans and lands by 2030.

  • Alessandro Baccini

    Senior Scientist

    Woods Hole Research Center

    Dr. Baccini is a remote sensing scientist whose interests focus on the use of satellite data for the monitoring of forest carbon, land cover, land cover change and the effects of environmental change on the terrestrial carbon cycle at the regional and global scale. Before joining the WHRC, he was a research associate at Boston University and worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the Forest Resources Assessment 1990 and 2000 monitoring tropical deforestation. 

  • Tanya Birch

    Program Manager – Google Earth Outreach

    Google

    Tanya Birch is a Program Manager at Google Earth Outreach, which uses Google's mapping technology and cloud platform to help solve some of the world's most pressing environmental and humanitarian problems. She leads Google's Nature Conservation efforts, working with many non-profit conservation organizations in applying technology like AI and geospatial analysis & storytelling to save wildlife and habitat. Prior to Google, she researched and mapped human elephant conflict with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. She studied Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. 

  • Nathan Hahn

    Ph.D. Candidate | Field Technology Consultant

    Colorado State University | RESOLVE

    Nathan Hahn is a PhD Candidate at Colorado State University and a Field Technology Consultant for RESOLVE. At CSU’s Wittemeyer Lab, Nathan is studying the applications of technology and innovative solutions for elephant conservation. Nathan has led work in Tanzania to use drones for human-elephant conflict mitigation in Tanzania.

  • Lucas Joppa

    Chief Environmental Officer

    Microsoft

    Dr. Lucas Joppa serves as Microsoft’s first Chief Environmental Officer, where he manages the company’s overall environmental sustainability efforts – from ensuring core operational excellence and policy advances to deploying advanced technology solutions to environmental challenges. Dr. Joppa’s career blends together environmental science research with technology innovation, people and project management, strategy formulation and implementation, and marketing and communications. He is motivated by the urgent need to transform the way society monitors, models, and ultimately manages Earth’s natural resources. Listed as one of Microsoft’s AI Thought Leaders, Dr. Joppa also founded and leads Microsoft’s 5-year $50m AI for Earth program, a cross-company effort dedicated to delivering scalable AI technologies in the four key areas of climate change, agriculture, water, and biodiversity conservation. With a PhD in Ecology from Duke University, Lucas is regularly publishing his research in leading academic journals such as Science and Nature.

  • Eric Wikramanayake

    Chairman and Director

    Environmental Foundation Ltd, Sri Lanka

    Eric specializes in biodiversity conservation and planning, community and landscape ecology, tropical freshwater fish ecology, large mammal ecology and conservation, and the Asian region. He has over 25 years of experience conceptualizing, developing, planning, innovating, supervising, and leading conservation projects across several countries in Asia, including Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.