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Science

Overview

WWF’s conservation work is grounded in science. Our scientists develop innovative approaches and apply the best available information to efforts directed at meeting the needs of both nature and people in a changing world.

WWF draws on biology, hydrology, oceanography, and the social sciences to advance cutting-edge conservation tools and methods, connect natural and social systems, and tackle emerging threats. Our scientists track conservation needs and lead regional and global analyses to identify and set priorities for the world’s valuable habitats and species. We also rely on the scientific process to ensure that our on-the-ground conservation programs are effective and producing measurable results.

Record Low Sea Ice Maximum in the Arctic

Following the Earth's warmest year since records began in 1880, Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its lowest winter extent recorded. This record measurement is a sign of thin, slow-growing ice.

bearded seal on ice

What WWF Is Doing

Science

We harness the power of science to advance conservation of the most important species and places. Scientific publications, computer-based tools, and data sets generated by WWF strengthen the integrity of conservation efforts worldwide. WWF’s seminar and symposia series foster scientific discourse and facilitate the cross-fertilization of ideas across sectors. Other conservation organizations, government agencies, and academic researchers regularly adopt WWF’s innovations.

Connecting Scientists

WWF employs a wealth of scientific expertise in its work around the world. Sharing information among WWF’s hundreds of dispersed scientists is critical to accelerating conservation. The WWF Conservation Science Network connects, supports and grows this community by providing access to the latest information and techniques, coordinating training and providing opportunities for collaboration.

Data and Tools
WWF Publications 
Peer Reviewed Publications
Meet the Scientists

 

biologist collecting turtle eggs
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 can be included in resource-use decisions.

WWF scientists use new technology to answer key conservation questions. Wireless internet, global telecommunication systems, cloud computing, online mapping, and smart phones help us approach scientific research in new ways. Our analyses enable decision makers and field practitioners to quickly incorporate the best information into their work.

coral reef

WWF scientists are leading an effort to determine which conservation strategies are working well, which need improving, and, most importantly, why. They are doing this through “impact evaluation,” a new application of the scientific method that draws upon best practices in the medical and education sectors.

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

polar bear tracks

WWF scientists and colleagues research climate change impacts and analyze data to find ways to build resilience for vulnerable people, species, and their habitats. We strive to provide practical solutions for conserving biodiversity by developing a new paradigm of "climate-smart" conservation that focuses on best practices to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience by putting nature at the center of sustainable development.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and species all over the world are already being impacted. We must implement strategies to help them adapt, both through direct human interventions, and by facilitating their natural capacity to adapt to these changes.

Nikhil Advani Senior Program Officer, Climate Change Adaptation

Projects

  • Developing a Scalable River Basin Report Card

    With this report card, WWF will help change how water is managed around the world by communicating complex environmental issues to a wide variety of stakeholders; informing decision-makers about the impacts of their actions; raising awareness about freshwater health among civil society; and, changing behavior and policies to measurably improve basin health.

  • Conserving Snow Leopards, Securing Water Resources, and Benefiting Communities

    In October 2012, WWF began a four-year project to conserve snow leopard habitat, promote water security, and help communities prepare for climate change impacts in Central Asia. The USAID-funded, $4.7-million Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project will conduct field activities in and build alliances among six of the snow leopard’s 12 range countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan. The project will run through September 30, 2016.

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Experts

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