Help Wildlife, Natural Areas and Communities Around the World
Why It Matters
Global Conservation Affects Us All
The conservation crisis threatens more than the world’s environment. It threatens America’s goals for a prosperous and stable world.
Business and U.S. Competitiveness
Humanity and businesses alike depend ecosystem services - fresh water, food, wood and fibers, biochemical products, pollination, and flood control – provided by natural areas and species worldwide. Responsible U.S. companies are undercut by illegal logging, fishing, and mining around the world that flood the market with low-cost products and threaten imperiled ecosystems and rare species. If there were no illegal producers, the U.S. would be able to increase its exports of wood products by about $460 million USD per year. Learn More
Plant breeding programs using genetic enhancements from wild relatives of agricultural crops help feed billions of people worldwide and are valued at an estimated $115 billion USD per year. Wild species such as birds and insects provide $100 billion USD worth of pest control services to world agriculture every year. Wild animals pollinate two-thirds of the agricultural crop species that feed the world, contributing $200 billion USD a year to world agriculture. Learn More
Human Health and Welfare
Tropical rainforests, coral reefs, and other wild landscapes around the world provide the ingredients for life-savings drugs that help people survive cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. Overall, about one-quarter of all prescription drugs, and more than 50 percent of the new drugs introduced in the past 25 years are derived from natural sources. Learn More
Many experts believe that the increasing competition for fresh water, food and arable land will lead to civil instabilities, mass migrations and conflict around the world. A June 2010 report by the Center for a New American Security concluded that environmental degradation will contribute to conflict and instability in key international flashpoints. Learn More
The income, credit, savings and social security for more than a billion of the world’s poorest people are not in any bank or government treasury but in the fields, trees, streams and wildlife around them. Learn More
One-third of the developing world’s 66 largest cities (500 million people) obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from conserved natural watersheds. Almost 3 billion people live in areas affected by severe water stress. Increasing water scarcity is expected to limit food production, increase food prices and add to the number of people suffering from hunger around the world. Learn More
Many women in the developing world are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation. Natural resources and ecosystems in developing nations are under dire threat. The detrimental impacts to women from this degradation include increased labor, lost opportunities or ability to generate income, and impaired health. Throughout the developing world, women are leading efforts to protect local and regional natural resources and improve the lives of women and girls in their communities. Learn More
Natural ecosystems serve as a buffer between wildlife and human populations, minimizing the transmission of animal-borne infectious diseases such as AIDS. Avian flu, originating in the wild, has cost the world economy more than $10 billion and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) more than $30 billion.
Small investments in conservation can lead to reduced impacts from natural disasters. Forests absorb and hold water, preventing both catastrophic flooding and severe droughts. Healthy coral reefs reduce the impact of large storms on coastal populations, a protective function valued at $9 billion a year.
Biodiversity, or the number and abundance of species, directly affects human populations. One-quarter of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived from natural sources including plant and animal species. Wild relatives of agricultural crops have provided genetic enhancements used in plant breeding programs that have helped feed billions of people around the world and are valued at an estimated $115 billion per year. The earth’s multitude of species also provides direct food security for the one billion of the world’s poorest people who are directly dependent on local natural resources for survival. Fresh and salt water fish species, as well as wild terrestrial foods such as diverse fruits, starchy vegetables, honey, and native wildlife are key nutrition sources in many developing countries. Learn More