Nature Needs Half started as an idea, informed by science, that nature needs sufficient space in order to function properly for the benefit of all life on our planet. Since 2009, this idea has transformed into an international movement of scientists and conservation leaders who recognize the urgent necessity of keeping at least half the planet wild and intact. This rapidly growing movement is committed to improving the relationship between people and nature and ensuring that at least half of our planet remains protected throughout large, connected eco-regions, now and in the future.
Nature Needs Half recognizes that:
- Intact and highly functioning natural systems produce the life supporting services that make human (and all other) life possible
- “Banking nature” efficiently and sustainably protects Earth’s living infrastructure
- The best of contemporary science, protected area policy and management, traditional /Indigenous knowledge and lifeways, and involvement of the public are all necessary elements in creating a truly sustainable human society…a Nature Needs Half world.
Nature Needs Half is needed
The escalating global ecological crisis – characterized by loss of natural habitat and ecosystem services, increasing species extinctions, and rapid warming of the planet –demonstrates clearly that conservation efforts to date have not been sufficient to sustain life on earth. While this has been happening, our ecological knowledge has also increased dramatically. Many assessments over the last 20 years have typically determined that nature needs at least half of a given eco-region to be protected, and interconnected with other such areas, in order to produce its full range of life-supporting, ecological and evolutionary processes, the long term survival of the species that live there, and to ensure the Earth’s resilience in the face of environmental change. Some ecosystems will require more than half.
Nature Needs Half is possible
Yes! It is a necessary and critical call to action. But it is also more than just a bold vision, and a call…it is an achievable strategy. Very recent scientific assessments of distinct “ecoregions” around the world confirm that protecting half of nature is indeed attainable in most of these valuable ecosystems. Already, 16% of the Earth’s ecoregions are half protected, with most of this in Tropical and Subtropical Moist Forest, and Tundra. Another 22% are well within reach of this crucial target.
We can do this!
Conservationists and policy makers should now fearlessly embrace a global goal of protecting at least half of the planet’s lands and waters, region by region, in interconnected protected areas….and motivate professional and social movements to do so. We have a duty to speak frankly about the clear implications of the science. Failure to do so would be the ultimate disservice to people and planet alike.
Simply put, Nature Needs Half, and it is time to say so.