WCS Global Initiatives

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About Us

For more than a century, Wildlife Conservation Society has been a world leader in studying, understanding, and conserving wildlife. WCS has built largest portfolio of field-based conservation programs of any conservation organization. These programs work to save land and seascapes and the wildlife they contain, protecting nearly 50 percent of the world’s vertebrate biodiversity, empowering and supporting local and indigenous communities, and building strong and enduring collaborations with governments, NGOs, and other partners.

The Long-term Problem

WCS protects the Last of the Wild—large expanses of relatively intact habitat that retain their natural biodiversity. While human impact has traditionally been low in these places, human influence is now expanding, creating new challenges for conservation around the globe.

As a result, we must continually search for creative solutions that balance increasing pressures for the land and resources necessary for economic development with the need to ensure that we maintain the integrity of natural systems required to support that development, and realize our mission to save wildlife and wild places.

Addressing the Challenges

With a seed grant of $500,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2009, WCS created the Global Initiatives to deepen scientific understanding of our changing world, and to develop the strategies and tools to address threats to nature and human survival. We do this in four distinct ways, by:

  • Integrating our work across spatial scales: from the village or community level to land and seascapes, to national government planning, and to global or multinational policy forums.
  • Bringing together public and private actors to collaborate on conservation solutions that create sustainable enterprises.
  • Offering conservation solutions that are sustainable for wildlife and the development aspirations of people and communities living in and around the areas supporting wildlife.
  • Proactively integrating future scenarios of climate change, population growth, and economic development into everything we do to ensure our conservation activities are durable, our solutions are optimal, and that we and our partners are nimble in adapting to new threats.

The Global Initiatives

Drawing on the expertise and experience of WCS scientists and conservationist in the field and our partners, WCS works to tackle the critical conservation challenges through four crosscutting global initiatives.

Business & Conservation

WCS’s Business and Conservation initiative works collaboratively with governments, companies, lenders, and civil society to integrate biodiversity-friendly practices into the work of large-scale resource extraction and development projects. Our "No Net Loss" principle holds that risks to biodiversity should be balanced with equivalent conservation. 
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Climate Change

Climate change is widely recognized as the greatest threat to biological diversity and human life on Earth. WCS's Climate Change initiative works mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change due to forest loss and degradation- the cornerstone of our strategy being the implementation of REDD+ - while helping habitats, species and people adapt to predicted changes due to climate change.
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Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the many diverse benefits that people derive from nature and that make human life on earth possible. WCS’s Ecosystem Services initiative works to identify and value these benefits and develop social and economic incentives, including innovative financing mechanisms such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), to support the sustainable management of ecosystem services.
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People and Conservation

The efforts of people to improve their quality of life constitute both an opportunity and a threat for conservation, and engaging with them effectively is an essential element for long-term success. WCS’s People and Conservation program seeks to understand this complex relationship and achieve biodiversity conservation by improving local livelihoods and promoting better natural resource governance through sustainable resource management. 
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WCS Global Initiatives Program
2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, NY 10460-1068 USA