MacArthur Foundation Awards $5.5 Million for Conservation Policy Research, Analysis

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced three grants totaling $5.5 million for policy research and analysis projects that help countries respond to increased pressures from development and climate change.

As part of its conservation and sustainable development program, the foundation awarded $2.8 million to the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., to map and monitor watersheds using high-resolution remote measurement and modeling methods. The project will provide data in support of international climate change mitigation efforts and biodiversity conservation agreements.

In addition, the foundation awarded $1.5 million to the D.C.-based World Wildlife Fund to help change the policies and practices of one hundred companies that buy and sell 25 percent of the fifteen commodities with the most significant impact on high biodiversity landscapes, and $1.2 million to the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to analyze current and projected impacts of major commodities on ecosystems and biodiversity in the Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa, the Greater Mekong Headwaters region, and the watersheds of the Andes.

The foundation's conservation policy grantmaking targets biodiversity conservation globally and reinforces the priorities of MacArthur's regional work, with a focus on four issues: climate change mitigation and adaptation; understanding and influencing China's consumption patterns and use of natural resources, particularly in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific; integrating environmental and social considerations into commodities markets; and responding to the overexploitation and illegal use of marine fisheries.

"Meeting the resource needs of an ever-increasing human population will place very significant pressure on the planet's most biodiverse areas," said Jorgen Thomsen, MacArthur's director of conservation and sustainable development. "We must consider and address the significant role of water provisioning, agriculture, fisheries, energy development, and climate change on biodiversity so that we are able to provide these vital resources for future generations."

"MacArthur Awards $5.5 Million to Support Conservation Policy Research and Analysis." John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Press Release 02/08/2012.