The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded two major new grants to NatureServe, a non-profit group that provides the science and technology needed to guide effective conservation action. The grants will fund initiatives in Latin American conservation and information technology.

“Better understanding of the distribution and condition of plant and animal species and ecosystems is essential for effective conservation,” said Mark Schaefer, NatureServe’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for investing in these efforts, which are designed to dramatically improve the ability to understand and protect our remarkable biological heritage.”

The first grant, provided through the Foundation’s Amazon-Andes Initiative, will be used to support conservation-oriented biodiversity mapping of the eastern slopes of the Andes and the Amazonian lowlands of Peru and Bolivia. Under this $2.43 million, two-year project, NatureServe will work together with a variety of partners to produce maps and accompanying databases documenting ecological systems, endemic species, threats, and protected areas. Further analysis of this data will identify areas of high biodiversity significance, helping to guide conservation action by governments and non-governmental organizations in the countries. They will also be used by the Foundation to identify priority areas for future attention under the Foundation’s Amazon-Andes Initiative. The Amazon Basin includes 60 percent of the world’s rainforests—a vast area that is still mostly intact, but faces severe threat from human pressures.

“NatureServe and its partners are in the best position to compile and analyze significant amounts of biophysical data, deliver new findings on the distribution of species and ecosystems, and apply decision-support systems in tropical environments,” said Jaime Cavelier, Senior Program Officer for the Foundation’s Andes-Amazon Initiative. “These grants will allow NatureServe to complete these analyses and to make the results readily available to the scientific and conservation community.”

The second grant, for $1.5 million, will help NatureServe to better support the information technology needs of the conservation community. Specifically, NatureServe will analyze how biodiversity software products currently meet the needs of key user communities, and where unmet needs exist. By highlighting these gaps, the project will identify ways to make biodiversity software more useful to users in the scientific, conservation, corporate, and governmental sectors. The project also includes developing data standards needed to better incorporate observation-based data into global biodiversity information networks. Finally, NatureServe will assist the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in creating information systems for managing its threatened species databases.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation was established in September 2000 to create positive outcomes for future generations. The Foundation funds outcome-based grants and initiatives to achieve significant and measurable results. Grantmaking supports the Foundation’s principal areas of interest: global environmental conservation, science, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

NatureServe is a non-profit conservation group dedicated to providing the scientific information and technology needed to guide effective conservation action. Representing a network of 75 natural heritage programs and conservation data centers in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, NatureServe is a leading source for detailed scientific information about threatened plants, animals, and ecosystems. Visit us online at

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