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The ongoing mass extinction of the natural world ranks with pandemics, world war, and climate change as among the greatest threats that humanity has imposed on itself. To lose so much of Earth’s biodiversity is to both destroy our living heritage, and to risk the stability of the planet, today and for all future generations.

Half-Earth is a call to protect half the land and sea in order to manage sufficient habitat to reverse the species extinction crisis and ensure the long-term health of our planet. The Half-Earth Project is bringing this goal to life.

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“Unless humanity learns a great deal more about global biodiversity and moves quickly to protect it, we will soon lose most of the species composing life on Earth.” – E.O. Wilson

Why Half?

Why one-half? The crucial factor in the life and death of species is the amount of suitable habitat left to them. As defined by the theory of island biogeography, a change in area of a habitat results in a change in the sustainable number of species by approximately the fourth root. As reserves grow in size, the diversity of life surviving within them also grows. As reserves are reduced in area, the diversity within them declines to a mathematically predictable degree swiftly – often immediately and, for a large fraction, forever.

When 90% of habitat is removed, the number of species that can persist sustainably will descend to about a half. Such is the actual condition of many of the most species-rich localities around the world. In these places, if 10% of the remaining natural habitat were then also removed, most or all of the surviving resident species would disappear.

If, on the other hand, we protect half the global surface, the fraction of species protected will be 85%, or more. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone.

 

Which Half?

Half-Earth is a call to protect half the land and sea in order to manage sufficient habitat to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity. Advances in technology now allow us to comprehensively map the geospatial location and distribution of the species of our planet at high enough resolution to drive decision-making about where we have the best opportunity to protect the most species. This is the work of the Half-Earth Project.

E.O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson is currently Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Chairman of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Board of Advisors, and Chairman of the Half-Earth Council. He is generally recognized as one of the leading scientists in the world. He is also recognized as one of the foremost naturalists in both science and literature, as well as a synthesizer in works stretching from pure biology across to the social sciences and humanities.

More about E.O. Wilson
Publications and awards (updated 9/2020)
In the news

Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life by E.O. Wilson

How?

So how do we do this?
How do we make caring for the rest of life part of our common humanity and the way we live our lives?

The Half-Earth Project brings together deep scientific research, experienced leadership and inspirational engagement as never collaboratively convened before, creating fresh goal-driven energy where existing efforts are losing ground. It addresses gaps in our current approach to our shared species extinction crisis and all of the cascading effects, and creates a compelling campaign for re-invigorated action.

Research

The Half-Earth Project is championing research to better understand our world, support conservation efforts, nurture future biodiversity stewardship, and perpetuate conservation efforts worldwide. We are working continuously to discover and identify our planet’s species and support regional biodiversity research and scholarship.

Lead

The Half-Earth Map is providing leadership to inform the identification of which places we can best manage for conservation in order to protect the most species. The Knowledge Platform is fostering greater understanding and action about how we can get to Half-Earth. Model conservation efforts are also showcased to inspire and inform best practices to get to Half-Earth.

Engage

The Half-Earth Project is engaging people everywhere to join us and participate broadly to achieve the goal of Half-Earth. We are tracking progress towards the goal of Half-Earth as an inspiring moonshot we can all work together to reach.

Half-Earth Project Team

Motivated by the species we are working to protect and the health of our shared planet, the Half-Earth Project team is a gathering of expertise from around the world necessary to achieving this grand goal.

Our Team
Our Half-Earth Council
Our Supporters

The Half-Earth Council

The Half-Earth Council is composed of thought-leaders across the wide-ranging fields of expertise necessary to comprehensively address the extinction crisis and support a movement culture that works to protect half the Earth for the rest of life. The Half-Earth Council has scientific leadership at its core. Members of the Council include population, sustainability and restoration specialists; public and private conservation leaders; indigenous peoples advocates; biodiversity-minded economists; business engagement experts, creative media producers and celebrity icons.

  • LEAD SCIENTIST
    E.O. Wilson
  • HALF-EARTH CHAIR
    Piotr Naskrecki

    E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory, Gorongosa National Park

  • RESTORATION
    Greg Carr

    Gorongosa Restoration Project

  • PRIVATE/PUBLIC CONSERVATION
    Kris Tompkins

    Tompkins Conservation

  • SCIENCE COMMUNICATION
    Sean B. Carroll

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute,
    University of Wisconsin

  • PRIVATE CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
    Laura Turner Seydel

    Turner Foundation, Captain Planet

  • ECONOMICS
    Jeff Sachs

    UN SDSN, Earth Institute
    Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University

  • HUMAN FOOTPRINT
    Mathis Wackernagel

    Global Footprint Network

  • POPULATION
    John Seager

    Population Connection

  • INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
    Robin Kimmerer

    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

  • RESTORATION
    Mike Phillips

    Turner Endangered Species Fund

  • FILM/MEDIA
    Louie Psihoyos

    Oceanic Preservation Society

  • BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
    Tom Lovejoy

    UN Foundation, George Mason

  • OCEANS
    Sylvia Earle

    Mission Blue

  • MAPPING
    Dawn Wright

    Chief Scientist, Esri

HALF-EARTHERS

The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and its Half-Earth Project are grateful for the financial support of the following individuals, corporations and foundations.

Judith Adler
Nayyer Ali
The Alisann and Terry Collins Foundation
William F. Allen
Alexander Anderson
John W. Anderson, III
Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin
Anonymous
Jonathan Arnold
Kelly Colgan Azar
T.A. Barron
Ed Bass
Beardsley Family Foundation
Benevity Fund
Gwendolyn Binder
Erik Bower
Gigi Brisson
Phil & Christine Borders Bronstein
The Burt’s Bees Foundation
James Cashel and Anne Ching
Christine Curtis
Lee Ann Daly
Jack and Laura Dangermond
Marie Davenport
Robin Davis
Scott Dietzen
Anthony and Shauna Doerr
Finca La Donaira
Manuel Pérez Dubuc
Sanuel Feinsmith and Sarah-Bess Dworin
Gerry Ehrlich
The Ellis Family Charitable Fund
Gwen Emery
ESRI
Robert Evren
Richard Fiore
Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart
Steven Remmer Fox
Johannes Girstmair
Harrison Glasgow
Morley and Deana Golden
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Gordon and Courtney Gould
Christopher Greene
Greg Carr Foundation
Matt Gregory
Caryl and Mickey Hart
William Hartel
The Hearst Foundation
Kanya Honoki
Houdini Sportswear
William Howell
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Cronson Johnson
Philip Johnson
Henrik Jones

David Keith
Stanford and Victoria Keziah
Sylvia Le Blancq
Kristin Hettermann Lindblad and Sven-Olof Lindblad
Liu Family Fund
The Loughridge Williams Foundation
Charlie Lyons
Mariposa Fund of American Endowment Foundation
Munson Foundation
The Nathan M. Ohrbach Foundation
Dave and Sarah Nigh
Roland Norton
Tom and Kristi Patterson
Payne-Brodeur Giving Fund
H.F.W. Perk and Leslie Dean Price
Mark Pfefferle
Phaneros Foundation
Ariel Phillips
David Prend
Mark Riley
John Martin Roberts
Nicholas Robinson
Rochester Music Hall of Fame
Jonathan and Diana Rose
Robert Rowe
Roger Sant and Doris Matsui
Aaron Santell
Kenneth and Erica Sercy
Jay Short
Paul Simon
Richard Slawson
Karen Slovin
Charles Smith
Natalie Soonthornswad
Gary Staab
Brad and Shelli Stanback
Fred and Alice Stanback
Joey Stein
Joan Steyaert
Graeme Stockton
Ashley Gordon Stone
James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Family Foundation
Sulentic Family Foundation
Thomas and Sara de Swardt
Syngenta
Mark Tercek
Todd and Diane Baker Fund
Turner Foundation
Jeff and Laurie Ubben
The Vermont Community Foundation
Wendy Weaver
David Welborn and Ann Hunter-Welborn
John Taylor Williams
Edward and Irene Wilson
Robert and Blaikie Worth
Susan Young

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