Newswise — The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) announced the launch of four new multi-disciplinary teams aimed at tackling global issues including land use, soil carbon, conservation offsets, and human health and the environment.
SNAPP is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. It is a scientific collaboration that is developing solutions to some of the world’s most significant conservation challenges that impact both people and nature.
The new multi-disciplinary teams include:
Land-Use Change (Orinoquia)The Orinoquia region of Colombia constitutes the second largest savanna system in South America and is considered the last agricultural frontier in the continent. While the area is well-preserved, it is also at the beginning of what could be a rapid expansion of large-scale agricultural development including palm oil, rubber and exotic species plantations, as well as annual crops such as rice, maize and soybeans. To inform decision-making, the Land-Use Change (Orinoquia) Working Group is synthesizing the potential ecological, social and development effects of expanding agricultural commodities and related land-use changes at the landscape and regional scale to identify what the consequences of different land-use scenarios might be for nature and people.
Managing Soil CarbonAny viable approach to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (adopted in 2015) requires addressing soil, which is the foundation of both healthy natural and agricultural systems. However, reliable, quantitative data on the contributions of key soil properties – like soil organic matter – to achieving production and environmental goals are lacking, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to successfully create science-based targets to manage soils to achieve targeted outcomes for nature and people. The Managing Soil Carbon Working Group is working to improve science-based soil management by quantifying the relationships between: SOM and crop yield, livestock value, carbon storage, biodiversity outcomes, and nutrient retention. Compensatory Conservation Ongoing industrial development is a reality, and, for many countries, an imperative. Increasingly, governments and others are turning to compensatory mechanisms, such as offsets, to counterbalance unavoidable biodiversity and ecosystem service impacts and provide urgently needed resources for underfunded environment programs. In such circumstances, how can people best harness the new push for compensatory conservation approaches, like offsets, to leverage the best outcomes for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides? The Compensatory Conservation Working Group is developing criteria, linked to sectoral and in-country circumstances, for identifying the type of compensatory approach most likely to deliver equitable conservation benefits across a range of objectives, and take advantage of current activities to test and illustrate biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes from alternative compensatory approaches.
Ecological Levers for Health The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and a new scientific movement focused on the concept of “Planetary Health” are drawing increased attention to the links between human health and the environment. Unfortunately, the lack of objective scientific evaluation of these links – such as those between disease transmission and environmental change – makes it difficult to design interventions that promote healthy outcomes for both people and nature. The Ecological Levers for Health Working Group will seek to identify clear links between disease transmission and environmental degradation by building on recent work in West Africa that showed ecological levers – like restoration of certain species – were more effective for controlling the spread of human schistosomiasis than direct health interventions alone.
SNAPP has launched 28 working group projects since its inception in 2013, which to date have produced 35 peer reviewed scientific publications, 13 online tools, and raised more than $7 million to follow-up on the outcome of SNAPP groups and to take those outcomes into practice.
This past year has seen SNAPP working groups deliver products including a new decision support tool to help data limited fisheries managers make better decisions; World Bank guidelines for conserving coastal ecosystems that protect human communities; and land-use models to help the Tanzanian government balance agricultural intensification, wildlife conservation, and watershed management.
For a full list of SNAPP multi-disciplinary teams, visit http://snappartnership.net/groups/.
### About the Science for Nature and People PartnershipFounded in 2013, the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) is the world’s premier innovation engine of conservation science and sustainable development policy, partnering with public, non-profit and private sector organizations around the world to transform the relationship between people and nature. Backed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. SNAPP funds, convenes and supports Expert Working Groups addressing challenges in four focus areas: Food Security and Nature, Water Security and Nature, Climate Change and Resilience, and Valuing Ecosystem Services. SNAPP has been generously supported by Angela Nomellini and Ken Olivier, Shirley and Harry Hagey, Steve and Roberta Denning, Seth Neiman, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods, blue moon fund, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. For more information, visit http://snappartnership.net/