Nature Needs Half™ is about protecting and connecting half of the Earth, at least, on both land and water. It is based on the best science and on common-sense, and is a vision for a necessary, new relationship between people and nature. NNH ensures that enough natural areas of land and water are protected and interconnected – and are of sufficient size and quality – to provide life-support (“ecosystem and biodiversity services”) essential to both human health and prosperity and to a bountiful, beautiful legacy of wild nature. In practice, NNH recognizes that human well-being and security depend greatly on a healthy, resilient, and abundant natural world… and also that Nature itself has a right to exist freely. The NNH principle is central to achieving a truly sustainable society – one that integrates conservation science and management with traditional and Indigenous knowledge and life-ways, and meets human needs while leaving “at least half” in wild nature. To survive and thrive, we must share this planet equally, at least, with nature.
The magnitude of the global ecological crisis we face today – and the availability of better and more accurate ecological information — demands that conservationists provide a clear and accurate global conservation target that will realistically keep our planet viable.
2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity and 2011 is the Year of Forests. Nature Needs Half has been setting the stage and working as part of the global conservation community to set new global conservation targets since November 2009. Many partners joined the movement and many individuals joined the herd in 2010 – will you be the next one? It is time to take action to support all life on our planet.
Reaching the goal of least half is ambitious but achievable. The short term milestone for the progress of this vision is to move urgently to protect at least half of the planet’s remaining large, mostly intact wilderness areas (for example Boreal Forests, the Amazon Basin, and formally protecting Antarctica), while achieving incremental gains by quickly protecting surviving remnants in fragmented areas of very high biological importance – for example in the Biodiversity Hotspots, Key Biodiversity Areas and Alliance for Zero Extinction sites. This rapid action is essential to respond to the global warming and extinction crises. The goal of achieving the target in every region will be more aspirational, requiring long term strategies with restoration efforts, and with many national/regional milestones along the way.