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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.

What we learned about coral reefs in 2019

While most of what we learned about coral reefs in 2019 is grim, there's still hope. In this new decade, we can do quite a bit to protect coral reefs and the wildlife and people that depend on them.

Gabby Ahmadia, senior marine scientist at WWF, surveys a reef in the Selat Dampier MPA, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

What WWF Is Doing

Education for Nature

Building science capacity: Marleine Aboumgone, winner of a scholarship with WWF’s Russell E. Train Education for Nature (EFN) program.

 

 

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

biologist collecting turtle eggs

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.

Creating Powerful Conservation Tools

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.

Assessing the Impact of Conservation

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.

Advancing Science: Fuller Science for Nature Fund

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.

Adapting to Climate Change

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.

Supporting Conservation Leaders

WWF knows that investing in training and education is critical for biodiversity conservation. That's why for nearly two decades the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN) has been providing financial support to proven and potential conservation leaders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to gain the skills and knowledge they needed to address the conservation challenges in their home countries. EFN supports conservationists to pursue graduate studies, attend short-term training courses, and train local communities in WWF priority places.

WWF is my laboratory. We convert conservation projects into real-world ‘experiments’ that allow us to learn how social and ecological systems work. In some ways, we’re becoming mechanics, learning how conservation projects work, and fine-tuning them for maximum impact.

Louise Glew Global Conservation Evidence Lead Scientist, Global Science

Projects

  • Wildlife Crime Technology Project

    Over four and a half years, the Google.org-funded Wildlife Crime Technology Project (WCTP) provided WWF a platform to innovate and test a number of innovative technologies, many of which have the potential to change the course of the global fight against wildlife crime. 

  • 2012 Fuller Symposium: Conservation Crime

    Global leaders shared their insights on the growing crisis of wildlife crime at the 2012 Fuller Symposium. The symposium was held on November 14, 2012 at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

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Experts