Why does protecting half the earth save biodiversity?

Because large areas harbor many more ecosystems and species composing them at a sustainable level.

The mission of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation is to reimagine the way we care for our planet.

The Half-Earth Project inspires informed collective action to save the biosphere.

The Half-Earth proposal offers [a solution] commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: …only by setting aside half the planet in reserve, or more, can we save the living part of the environment and achieve the stabilization required for our own survival.  – E.O. Wilson (1929-2021)


NEW: Study Shows “Half-Earth” Doubles Gains for Orangutans

A new study in Oryx—The International Journal of Conservation assesses what would happen to Bornean orangutans in the next decade under different management assumptions, including “Half-Earth.” 20 experts from Malaysia, Indonesia and overseas concluded that under current management practices orangutan populations may decline by around 27% between now and 2032 in Borneo.

Hutan-Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme Scientific director Dr. Marc Ancrenaz commented in Borneo Echo, “The good news is that this analysis predicts that, if orangutan killing and habitat loss were stopped, orangutan populations could rebound and reach 148 per cent of their current size by 2122.”

Erik Meijaard, PhD, a study co-author and Director, Borneo Futures, sat down with Dennis Liu, VP Education, to discuss restoring orangutans and applying the Half-Earth principles in his work in Borneo.

Read More.

Watch – Our Shared Future, a conversation in celebration of Half-Earth Day 2022.

The Smithsonian Institution, and E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation held Our Shared Future – a conversation in celebration of Half-Earth Day 2022 on October 13th in Washington, DC. View the agenda.

This live event at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, in Washington, D.C. on October 13, featured Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO, WRI keynoting the James M. & Cathleen D. Stone Foundation Distinguished Lectureship in Biodiversity; Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Ellen Stofan, Under Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian, Paula J. Ehrlich, President & CEO, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader of Climate Solutions, Bezos Earth Fund, Lucas St. Clair, President, Elliotsville Foundation, Sean B. Carroll, Head of Studio, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, Elizabeth Gray, CEO, Audubon, Jennifer Morris, CEO, The Nature Conservancy, Adams Cassinga, National Geographic Explorer, Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist, Esri, with Jeff Corwin, wildlife biologist and TV host, and more.

Watch – Saving America’s Biodiversity: Wildlife Corridor Protection, Partnerships and Strategies with Queen Quet

On October 12th, Wildlands Network, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, ARC Solutions, Endangered Species Coalition, International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Wilderness Society, in cooperation with hosts Representative Don Beyer (D-VA), and Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) presented, “Saving America’s Biodiversity: Wildlife Corridor Protection, Partnerships and Strategies with Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.”

This live event at the U.S. Capitol featured Dan Ashe, President & CEO, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (former Director, US Fish and Wildlife), Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Chad Wilsey, Chief Scientist, National Audubon Society, Alyssa Ravasio, CEO, Hipcamp, and more. The briefing aligned with Half-Earth Day 2022, and the Half-Earth Project supported via legislation from Rep. Beyer. View the agenda and speakers.

Improved Resolution, Irrecoverable Carbon Layer, Improve Decision-Making for Species

NEW: Updated Half-Earth Project Map includes improved resolution with 1KM species richness and rarity layers in North America, a new carbon layer showing how to protect species and address climate change, marine data, and new personalization tools to support policymakers.

> 1km species richness and rarity layers at an unprecedented level of detail in North America
> Irrecoverable carbon layer identifies areas where habitat protection can support climate change goals
> Marine exclusive economic zones for each country on Half-Earth Project Map’s National Report Cards
> Users can now draw or upload their own “area of interest” ranging from 1000 sq.km up to 35,000 sq.km
> New biodiversity layers

Read more.

Watch – Shemá: Biodiversity, Franciscans, and the Season of Creation: For a Present that has a Future

Featuring: Rosa María Ruiz, Brother Erlison Campos, Father Jacek Orzechowski, and Paula J. Ehrlich

Moderated by Nora Pfieffer, Director of Franciscan Justice Circles at Franciscan Action.  

The Half-Earth Project joined the discussion as part of “The Season of Creation” an annual ecumenical Christian celebration to “listen and respond together to the cry of Creation: the ecumenical family around the world unites to pray and protect our common home” led by the Franciscan Order.

View the discussion and learn more about our ecumenical engagement.

The Science of the Half-Earth Project

The innovative science and research developed and in-part, funded by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation is having a significant impact on our goal to preserve global biodiversity. High-quality science is critical, for example, to informing global initiatives like protecting 30% of land and seas by 2030 (30×30) on the way to Half-Earth, or the America The Beautiful Plan to protect biodiversity and address climate change in the US.

Explore the science of the Half-Earth Project.

Rep. Beyer introduces Half-Earth Resolution

On the birthday of the late E.O. Wilson (1929 – 2021), legislation introduced by Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) in the US House of Congress honored E.O. Wilson’s dream of setting aside half the Earth’s land and seas for the conservation of species and the principles of Half-Earth.

Whereas the late E.O. Wilson has estimated that protecting half of the Earth’s land and seas would be sufficient to preserve 85 percent of the planet’s species, and with it, global biodiversity;

Learn more.

Statement on Biden-Harris Administration Executive Order on Climate Crisis

“We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration’s pledge to put America on the path to ‘conserve 30 percent of its ocean of our lands and oceans by 2030.’ Conservation areas are key to safeguarding species and to ensure future generations can benefit from biodiversity’s many contributions to functioning ecosystems and human well-being. The Half-Earth Project® recognizes the need for a much expanded and carefully selected network of lands, waters, and ocean prioritized for conservation to achieve this goal.”

Read the full statement.

Dr. Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD, President & CEO, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Half-Earth Project® Lead

On Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Half-Earth Project

We commit to prioritizing listening and taking clear steps externally and internally to combat racism and oppression of all types. We commit to working toward justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in our leadership, our programs, our strategic planning, our operations, our communications and our fundraising. We commit to creating a culture at the foundation that educates staff and stakeholders on the issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion and holds opportunity for traditionally excluded groups to join in processes, activities and decision-making. We welcome and encourage feedback along the way.

We commit to understanding that this body of work IS our work if we are to achieve the goal of Half-Earth and benefit all people and species.

Honoring Indigenous Communities

“The Half-Earth Project honors the wisdom of the traditional owners of the lands and waters we aim to protect and their ancient ways of seeing and experiencing nature. In the spirit of the oral tradition of the Blackfoot, we aim to honor ‘the flash of the firefly in the night, the breath of the buffalo in the wintertime, and the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.’ We aim to restore and protect life. We thank our Indigenous communities for their historic stewardship of life, their critical role in reaffirming and repairing our relationship with it and their present and future partnership.” – Paula Ehrlich, President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and Lead of the Half-Earth Project

Seek out the Indigenous history of the place where you live at https://native-land.ca/.