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Understanding People and Nature

Our planet is increasingly under pressure from human activity. Forests are disappearing, oceans are being emptied, and species are vanishing at an alarming rate. The actions we take over the next decade will determine the future of nature—and the fate of people who depend upon the natural environment for their food, shelter, and livelihoods.


Anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, sociology and other social science disciplines all have analytic tools and established knowledge that provide insights vital to the success of conservation efforts. Through research, technical assistance, and capacity building efforts around the world, WWF delivers the social science knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that conservation strategies are both biologically sustainable and socially viable.

Conservation Social Science

WWF is expanding conservation science beyond its biological traditions and developing the emerging field of conservation social science. By integrating social science into conservation programs, we gain a deeper understanding of the decisions people make that affect nature, why they make them, and how that knowledge can inform conservation strategies. After all, conservation interventions are the product of human decisions and require changes in human behavior to succeed.

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