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Special Projects

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Our special projects in environmental conservation address a diverse array of issues — from climate change to sustainable fisheries — but they are united by a common thread. In every case, we seek out projects that connect the dots in new ways.

Select examples include the following:

  • Harnessing social science methods to evaluate and inform conservation grantmaking

Ecological metrics like air or water quality, animal populations or the number of acres protected are the typical measures of impact in conservation work. Yet the path to success nearly always requires behavior or policy change. A team of social science researchers at George Mason University has shed new light on how social psychology, behavioral science and economics can inform the design and evaluation of conservation efforts.

  • Global collaborative aims to bring 50 percent of the world’s fisheries under sustainable management in 10 years

An unprecedented coalition of seafood companies, researchers, governments, NGOs and financial institutions has come together to tackle this ambitious goal in sustainable fisheries management. Several factors position 50in10 for success. Industry and large multilateral organizations like the World Bank are engaged. The group’s approach is unique, uniting the often disparate strategies of policy reform, community engagement and market pressures under one coordinated effort. And with participants from around the world, 50in10 can expand on localized successes by facilitating knowledge sharing and helping to replicate the most successful models.

  • Empowering international collaboration among states and provinces to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation

Industrialized nations and the developing world often only interact with one another at the national level. Yet, land use and climate change policies are often developed first by state and provincial governments. The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) was convened to fill that gap. By bringing together local government leaders from Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain and the United States, GCF enables states to work together across international borders to reduce carbon emissions. For example, a state in the U.S. might pay to maintain healthy rainforest in Brazil or Indonesia as a way to offset some of its carbon emissions. If such a system proves successful between states, it could then be scaled up to the national level.