Science

Overview

WWF’s conservation work is grounded in science. Our scientists develop innovative approaches and apply the best available information to advance cutting-edge tools and methods, connect natural and social systems, and find solutions to the planet’s most pressing and complex threats.

WWF scientists work across multiple disciplines, juxtaposing expertise in planetary and big data science with human-centric approaches, including sociology, education, and psychology. Working with partners, WWF scientists lead global and regional analyses and communicate the science of implementation and scale—for both people and nature in our changing world.

WWF women scientists on conservation and connecting to nature

Before International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th, we asked some of our female scientists why they decided to pursue a career in conservation science specifically, and how they stay inspired

Rachel Golden Kroner crouches before a mossy landscape

What WWF Is Doing

La Chorrera indigenous community and WWF-Colombia

Science

Science

Advancing Science: Fuller Science for Nature Fund

People seated on a stage at the Fuller Symposium

The Kathryn Fuller Science for Nature Fund, named in honor of the former president and CEO of WWF-US, supports and harnesses the most promising conservation science research and puts it into practice. The fund supports the annual Thomas Lovejoy Science for Nature Symposium featuring global leaders in science, policy, and conservation. Additionally, it supports the Fuller Seminar Series, a regular forum for the conservation community to learn, discuss, and network.

Monitoring for Impact

Nicolas Moity Antonio Busiello WW289465

Monitoring progress toward global goals for human well-being, nature conservation, and climate change is critical when determining the impact of conservation investments. WWF scientists are working to integrate impact reporting at multiple scales and interventions to better track project and organizational impact in the land- and seascapes that WWF works in. In addition, by providing technical systems analysis, systems design facilitation support, and capacity development, scientists are working to ensure that WWF and the broader conservation sector design projects and programs that create true transformational change for the diverse needs of people and nature.

Scaling Locally Driven Conservation

Two women looking at potted plant

WWF recognizes that investing in science capacity and conservation leadership is critical for advancing biodiversity conservation. That's why for nearly three decades, the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN) has been providing financial support to individuals and institutions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. EFN is working to enhance the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to address conservation challenges at local, regional, and global scales.

Ensuring Sustainable Plates

Two hands picking tomatoes from a plant

The food system is the single greatest driver of environmental degradation. Transforming how the world produces and consumes food, from land and the sea, is essential to stabilizing the climate and protecting nature and its services. As one critical area of research, WWF scientists are identifying and developing the science required to fill knowledge gaps on the dietary shifts needed within each country to achieve nutrition guidelines for all people. These take into account each country’s commitments to global targets to understand how food system transformation pathways will take shape at the local scale to simultaneously achieve global health, climate, and biodiversity goals.

Harnessing Data and Artificial Intelligence

A smartphone on a table showing a map

Until recently, the vast number of variables in conservation made measuring the effectiveness of strategies difficult. Fast, accurate, replicable, easy-to-understand impact reporting is necessary, and advances in technology are starting to put this within reach. Remote sensing technology has become much more advanced, along with data processing tools and platforms that can organize the information so it is understandable and directly usable. To streamline impact monitoring systems and ensure their work is effective and measurable, WWF scientists are working to build open source platforms and tools, harness artificial intelligence and machine learning, and closely collaborate with local communities.

Contributing to Peer-reviewed Research

Closeup of man working

WWF employs a wealth of scientific expertise in its work around the world. Our scientists have extensive publication records within peer-reviewed literature, serve on scientific and academic bodies to further their own understanding and to shape the future of their fields, and are frequently called upon to contribute insight, data, and analyses to globally significant assessments, reports, and publications.

Valuing Nature

The Amazon and its tributaries

Natural ecosystems support livelihoods and economies in countless ways: they store carbon to slow climate change, purify and regulate water supplies, pollinate crops, and provide food and medicine. WWF scientists quantify these benefits and map their sources so the value of these ecosystem services are included in policy and decisions.  

Projects

  • CONVEI: Collaborative Network for Valuing Earth Information

    Earth Observations can provide real-time, globally available, and publicly accessible information for decision-makers to track current and future natural impacts and prioritize which actions to take for their localities. Teaming up with NASA, NOAA, and USGS, WWF is working to build better understanding of the beneficial outcomes from Earth Observations and how to improve them.

  • WILDLABS.NET: Connectivity and collaboration to save the planet

    WILDLABS.NET, a new conservation technology network, brings together conservationists, technologists, engineers, data scientists, entrepreneurs and change makers in a central, open space to share information, ideas, tools and resources.

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Experts