The Wallace Initiative

Humans are largely dependent upon ecosystems and the services they provide. Over-exploitation of natural resources has led to degradation of ecosystems and to a reduction of the services available to society, exacerbating poverty and increasing vulnerabilities.

Observed climate changes during the late 20th century have already led to changes on ecosystems services and therefore on human livelihoods. The magnitude of these changes are likely to increase with increasing levels of climate change. Many ecosystems are projected to become more depauperate as the ecology of individual species track the changing climate at different rates.

Smart conservation plans therefore need to take into account changes species population dynamics and interactions. In view of that, it turns critical to act under a coordinated conservation framework that allows both the flux of information between stakeholders and the adequate preservation of biodiversity: The Wallace Initiative was created to fill this gap. Five major areas comprise the Wallace Initiative:

  1. Assessment of impacts of climate change on species distributions for (a) refugia determination and (b) improving knowledge on extinction risks
  2. Mapping of potential corridors for species
  3. Design of REDD mechanisms based on carbon distribution and potential refugia
  4. Drive protected area design in the 21st century
  5. Provide critical conclusions to aid the development of adaptation plans

Significant advances have been made by different partners in terms of modeling and conservation planning, including meetings with conservationists in Latin America (focusing in the Amazon).