Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of funds ​Arlington, Va. (March 22, 2017)…
Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of funds

​Arlington, Va. (March 22, 2017) — Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of funds and personnel are preventing MPAs from reaching their full potential. Only 9 percent of MPAs reported having adequate staff.

MPAs, which include marine reserves, sanctuaries, parks and no-take zones, are areas designated to protect marine species and habitats from both global and local threats.

The research paper, “Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally” was published in Nature today. ​

After four years assessing data on site management and fish populations in 589 MPAs worldwide, Dr. David Gill of Conservation International (CI) and his co-authors discovered that shortfalls in staffing and funding are hindering the recovery of MPA fish populations.

While fish populations grew in 71 percent of MPAs studied, the level of recovery of fish was strongly linked to the management of the sites. At MPAs with sufficient staffing, increases in fish populations were nearly three times greater than those without adequate personnel. Despite the critical role of local management capacity, only 35 percent of MPAs reported acceptable funding levels.

“Our study identified critical gaps in the effectiveness and equity of marine protected areas,” said Gill, who conducted the research during a postdoctoral fellowship supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) and the Luc Hoffmann Institute. “We set out to understand how well marine protected areas are performing and why some perform better than others. What we found was that while most marine protected areas increased fish populations, including MPAs that allow some fishing activity, these increases were far greater in MPAs with adequate staff and budget.”

Marine protected areas are rapidly expanding in number and total area around the world. In 2011, 193 countries committed themselves to the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets, including a goal of “effectively and equitably” managing 10 percent of their coastal and marine areas within MPAs and “other effective area-based conservation measures” by 2020. In the last two years alone, over 2.6 million km2 have been added to the portion of the global ocean covered by MPAs, bringing the total to over 14.9 million km2.

As countries continue to expand their coverage and create new MPAs to achieve national targets, many unanswered questions remain: Are MPAs meeting their social and ecological objectives? Are they being managed “effectively and equitably”? How can we ensure that MPAs deliver the ecological and social benefits they were designed to produce?

Led by Gill, a multinational and multidisciplinary research team worked to answer these key questions. The study used rigorous statistical methods to identify changes in fish populations attributable to the MPA and not due to other pre-existing factors, such as preferentially locating MPAs where threats are low. 

“These results highlight the potential for an infusion of resources and staff at established MPAs – and at MPAs in the pipeline – to enhance MPA management and ensure that MPAs realize their full potential,” said Dr. Helen Fox of the National Geographic Society, who led the research initiative together with Dr. Michael B. Mascia of CI.  “The good news is that this is a solvable problem. MPAs perform better when they have enough staff and an adequate budget.”

 “The risk is that MPAs proliferate without further investment in MPA management, leaving new sites without the resources they need to deliver on their promises. If resources are reallocated to new MPAs from currently protected areas, that could weaken these older sites, too,” added Mascia.

The authors propose policy solutions including increasing investments in MPA management, prioritizing social science research on MPAs and strengthening methods for monitoring and evaluation of MPAs.

David Gill is currently a David H. Smith Research Fellow at CI and George Mason University. Helen Fox and Mike Mascia began the work from the Conservation Science Program of WWF; they are now at National Geographic Society and CI, respectively.

About the study

This research was supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding received from the National Science Foundation DBI-1052875, as part of the working group: Solving the Mystery of Marine Protected Area (MPA) Performance: Linking Governance, Conservation, Ecosystem Services and Human Well Being. David Gill was jointly supported by postdoctoral fellowships from the Luc Hoffmann Institute and SESYNC.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. CI’s first VR film ‘Valen’s Reef’ tells the story of one of the most successful community-driven conservation projects in the world in the world, the Bird’s Head Seascape Initiative. “Valen’s Reef has been viewed by more than 1.7M people since its release in the end of June 2016.   Learn more about CI and the “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About SESYNC

SESYNC’s mission is to support synthetic, actionable team science on the structure, functioning and sustainability of socio-environmental systems. The center’s five core objectives are to: enhance the effectiveness of interdisciplinary collaborations among natural and social science research teams focused on environmental problems; build capacity and new communities of socio-environmental researchers; provide education programs to enhance interdisciplinarity and understanding of socio-environmental synthesis; enhance computational capacity to promote socio-environmental synthesis; and enhance relevance of socio-environmental research to decisions and behaviors via actionable scholarship. For more information on SESYNC and its activities, please visit www.sesync.org.​

Arlington, Va. (March 17, 2017) – Conservation International (CI) Co-founder, Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann responded today with the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s proposed funding cuts as a…

Arlington, Va. (March 17, 2017) – Conservation International (CI) Co-founder, Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann responded today with the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s proposed funding cuts as a part of his FY2018 budget:

“The risks to America’s national and economic security from resource scarcity are increasingly clear, as diminishing resources such as food and fresh water lead to instability, conflict, mass migration and radicalization. International conservation is a vital component to ensure our national security.

“There is a direct connection between resource scarcity, international conservation and America’s national and economic security. We hope that, as the Trump Administration develops its final FY2018 budget request, and as Congress considers this request, that they recognize this connection and protect America’s security by supporting international conservation.”

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and its groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work ​on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

​​Arlington, Va. (March 7, 2017) — Anastasia Khoo has been named Chief Marketing Officer of Conservation International (CI). Khoo joins CI from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), where she led…
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Arlington, Va. (March 7, 2017) — Anastasia Khoo has been named Chief Marketing Officer of Conservation International (CI). Khoo joins CI from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), where she led historic communications and marketing campaigns for the organization as Chief Marketing Officer. Her appointment was announced by Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of CI. Khoo will join CI on April 3.

Khoo is an award-winning marketer whose experience at HRC spans several landmark Supreme Court decisions, four election cycles and numerous campaigns that have helped change the course of history. “Anastasia is a gifted and strategic marketer who has set new standards for modern-day campaigns,” said Conservation International’s Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann, who noted that her appointment followed an extensive national search. “We are thrilled to have her join our leadership team and bring her intellectual passion and storytelling abilities to some of the most important issues facing the planet.”

Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International’s Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist added: “I have long admired Anastasia’s ability to engage audiences in ways that result in lasting change. Her timing in joining CI couldn’t be better. More than ever before, our message – that people need nature – is urgent and relevant, especially to the younger generations who are so crucial to our mission.”

During Khoo’s 11-year tenure with HRC, she powerfully used data and technology to deliver a series of ground-breaking marketing and communications campaigns around critical moments in America’s history such as the recent Obergefell v. Hodges marriage equality decision, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the introduction of the Equality Act. She was the architect of HRC’s 2013 record-breaking “red equal sign” campaign that became Facebook’s most viral campaign in the platform’s history and most recently, the #LoveWins effort that garnered over 7 million retweets worldwide.

Her work has earned top honors including Mashable’s “Best Social Media Campaign”, PR Week’s “Best Digital Campaign”, Shorty Award for Social Good & “Best Facebook Campaign”, APA Pollie Gold, PR News’ “Best Social Good Campaign”, and SXSW’s prestigious “Best Digital Campaign”, “Best Social Media Campaign” and the highly-coveted “Best in Show” awards. Khoo has also received a wide variety of accolades including “Digital Innovator of the Year”, “Gamechanger” and PR News “Top Women in PR.” Most recently, Khoo joined an elite group of PR professionals to earn the “Champion of PR” award distinction from PR Week.

Khoo is also a widely sought-after commentator by top media outlets, including The Today Show, The New Yorker, Washington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review and Marketing Power. Her appearances also include conferences such as The Guardian’s Activate London Summit, Mashable Social Good and SXSW.

Prior to HRC, Khoo spent six years with Greenpeace, developing its brand and communications strategy. Khoo holds a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College. She will be based at CI’s headquarters in Arlington, Va.

About Conservation International (CI)
Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity for the well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area and employs more than 800 staff in 30 countries on six continents, and has nearly 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please visit our website at: www.conservation.org/ or visit us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter​.

Arlington, Va. (March 1, 2017) – Research published today in the journal Climatic Change details the severe consequences of climate change across Central America, including its impact on agriculture and…

Arlington, Va. (March 1, 2017) – Research published today in the journal Climatic Change details the severe consequences of climate change across Central America, including its impact on agriculture and ecosystems. The research is the first to both frame the current challenges facing the region and to identify policy strategies that could help the region adapt.

The research papers, by scientists from Conservation International (CI) and partners from over 20 institutions including academia and research centers, are available online at https://link.springer.com/journal/10584/141/1/page/1.

Key research findings include:

“These results show that climate change will have major impacts on crop productivity and smallholders in Central America,” said Lee Hannah, a senior scientist at Moore Center for Science and co-author and co-editor of the special issue. “This research improves our ability to help the most vulnerable small farmers and those in poverty.”

The effects of climate change are already evident in Central America, with changes in rainfall, temperature and water availability affecting the region’s large population of smallholder farmers. Their crops reliant on rainfall, these farmers are especially vulnerable to changes in climatic conditions and often have limited financial resources and capacity to cope with climate stresses and shocks.

The research addresses the region’s consistent lack of access to information needed to guide policymaking. This lack of information has impeded policy makers, practitioners and leaders from implementing policy strategies that could help smallholder farmers and the overall region to adapt.

As part of CI’s CASCADE Project, the research is a joint venture with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) and CIRAD, a research center working with developing countries to tackle international agricultural and development issues. CI’s CASCADE Project is funded by the International Climate Initiative of the German Government. The CASCADE “Ecosystem-based Adaptation for Smallholder Subsistence and Coffee Farming Communities in Central America” project is identifying and testing ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) strategies to help smallholder farming communities adapt to these climate changes in Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and its groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube​.

Blue-Abadi-Fund-raises-23-million

Bali, Indonesia: February 24, 2017 – At the World Ocean Summit today, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and the Indonesian government announced US$23 million in support for…

Bali, Indonesia: February 24, 2017 – At the World Ocean Summit today, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and the Indonesian government announced US$23 million in support for the Blue Abadi Fund, which is on track to be the world’s largest marine conservation trust. The Fund is uniquely designed to support local community stewardship of the protected areas of the world’s most biodiverse reefs, Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape.

The announcement comes just 5 months after the Fund initiative was announced. Once the Fund is fully capitalized, the Seascape will contain Indonesia’s first sustainably financed marine protected area network (MPAs).

Located in West Papua, the Bird’s Head Seascape encompasses more than 2,500 islands and reefs and supports thousands of species — including 70 that can be found nowhere else on Earth.

The Blue Abadi Fund will help secure the long-term financial sustainability of the Bird’s Head Seascape by providing grants to local communities and agencies so they can sustainably manage their marine resources into the future.

The Fund is a powerful example of how local leadership combined with coordinated global support can deliver sustained conservation goals. Founding supporters include: the Walton Family Foundation, USAID, MacArthur Foundation, Global Environment Facility and others.

“These protected areas exist thanks to the support and involvement of local communities and fishermen,” said Rob Walton of the Walton Family Foundation, which has been working in the Bird’s Head region for more than a decade. “Of course it is not enough to create marine protected areas, you have to have long-term management and enforcement. That is what the Blue Abadi fund is all about.”

The Bird’s Head Seascape coalition was launched in 2004 by Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund and now includes 30 conservation partners, including local and national governments, international and local NGOs, and academic institutions. Its mission is to ensure sustainable management of the Bird’s Head Seascape’s resources in a way that empowers local indigenous communities while enhancing their food security and livelihoods.

“The future of our planet depends upon the wisdom of communities,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “Through the Blue Abadi Fund the global community joins with local communities to secure the long-term health of the Bird’s Head seascape, arguably the most diverse marine region of Planet Earth.”

Since the launch of the Coalition 12 years ago, the MPA Network in the Bird’s Head Seascape has grown to include 3.6 million hectares of MPAs or approximately 20 percent of all MPAs in Indonesia. Locally managed by communities and government, the MPA Network prioritizes biodiversity conservation and sustainable local fisheries. Working together, they have reduced overfishing by outside poachers by 90 percent while enjoying growth in sustainable fisheries, food security and tourism.

Overall, the Coalition effort has engaged 30 partner organizations — including Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund — and 70 donors, both local and global. The governments of Indonesia and the West Papua Province, along with local communities, have played fundamental roles in managing the MPA network and local fisheries.

The Bird’s Head Seascape Coalition will complete a full transfer of MPA management responsibilities to local communities and the government by June 2017, who will then co-manage them into the future. Local funding sources will provide 70 percent of the financing needed for the seascape, with the Indonesian government being the largest source of funding, and the Blue Abadi Fund providing the remaining 30 percent.

In a demonstration of their commitment to the MPA network and as a match to the Blue Abadi Fund, the West Papuan government has committed to provide a minimum of Rp. 7.215.000.000 (US$555,000) per year to the management of the MPA network starting in 2018. Budget allocations from the National government as well as revenues generated from tourism user fees will also contribute to the MPA costs.

“As a conservation province, our natural resources are of strategic value and importance for West Papua. To ensure that we continue to benefit from conservation, we need to work together to ensure that our MPAs are sufficiently and sustainably funded,” said Drs. Nathaniel D. Mandacan, M.Si, the Secretary General of the West Papua Provincial Government.

Local communities and agencies will use the funds to implement comprehensive management plans for the 12 MPAs that support activities such as effective patrol systems, community outreach and development, and ecological and social monitoring so management activities can be adapted over time. Funds will also be available to Papuan civil society for innovative community conservation and fishing projects, and more.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses an innovative blend of science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water, and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and follow our work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in 100 countries for over half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment, and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more and follow our news conversations on Twitter @World_Wildlife.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. In Indonesia, TNC has been working to transform practices and informs policies for more than 25 years. To learn more, visit www.nature.or.id or follow @ID_Nature​ on Twitter.

Conservation-International-launches-new-Dream-Team-fellowship

​Arlington, VA — Today, Conservation International (CI) announced a new, multimillion-dollar fellowship initiative that joins world leaders with some of the most innovative minds in conservation. Named after its founders,…

Arlington, VA — Today, Conservation International (CI) announced a new, multimillion-dollar fellowship initiative that joins world leaders with some of the most innovative minds in conservation. Named after its founders, CI Board members Dr. Yvonne L.K. Lui and Melani and Rob Walton, the 2017 Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship program recognizes 15 Fellows from 11 countries with diverse backgrounds — from world leaders to first-in-class scientists and conservationists — all dedicated to saving nature and building a healthier, more productive planet.

Each Fellowship provides a full-time salaried position and travel for up to two years. Fellows will have access to resources, professional development and direct participation in CI programs. They will also have the chance to work with CI and its partners to tackle critical conservation challenges in priority areas around the world. The program will fund five classes of Fellows for at least 10 years — supporting approximately 75 “dream team” fellows in all.

The inaugural Fellows class includes Distinguished Fellows Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change; Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former president of Iceland and chairman of the Arctic Circle; and Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati and head of Pacific Rising, an organization dedicated to helping the people of the low-lying Pacific island adapt and thrive in the face of rising sea levels caused by climate change. These world leaders bring expertise in policymaking, climate negotiating and addressing issues such as sea-level rise.

“Thirty years ago, CI was founded with a commitment to bring new ideas to the world of international conservation,” said CI Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann. “The Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship honors that tradition by linking rising stars in science and technology with seasoned leaders from government and civil society. We are grateful to the leadership of Dr. Yvonne Lui and Melani and Rob Walton for establishing this visionary program.”

“The environmental challenges that we face in our home countries require both local and global, sustainable solutions,” said Lui, founder of the Yvonne L.K. Lui Foundation. “I’m inspired by and proud to support this exceptional group of international Fellows in their efforts to safeguard the future of our planet and look forward to seeing the impact of the Lui-Walton Fellowship in China, and throughout the world.”

“I am very impressed with the depth of leadership and fresh thinking represented in this diverse and talented inaugural class of Fellows,” said Rob Walton, chairman of the board (retired) for Walmart Stores and CI Board member. “I believe unleashing human ingenuity is key to protecting our natural resources and helping create sustainable solutions for our future. Our Fellows initiative is off to a great start, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

For the list of named Fellows with their biographies, please click here. In addition to these Fellows, the following fellowship positions are still to be named:

  1. To-be-named Fellow, based in Hong Kong
  2. To-be-named Fellow, based in Mainland China
  3. To-be-named Fellow, focused on REDD+ climate solutions
  4. To-be-named Fellow, focused on global sustainable landscapes

The Fellowship will formally kick off on Thursday, February 16, with meetings and a high-level discussion with the Distinguished Fellows that will be facilitated by Laurene Powell Jobs on the path forward for collective action on climate change. The discussion will take place at CI’s quarterly Board dinner in Menlo Park, Calif., near where CI was incorporated 30 years ago.

Interview opportunities for the Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship include:

  • Select Fellows listed above
  • Peter Seligmann, CI founder and CEO
  • Dr. M. Sanjayan, CI executive vice president and senior scientist
  • Program founders — Yvonne L.K. Lui, founder of the Yvonne L.K. Lui Foundation and Rob Walton, chairman of the board (retired) for Walmart Stores

Assets*: Headshots of the Fellows are available here.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses an innovative blend of science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and follow our work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*By downloading these images you agree to the following licensing terms and conditions: CI grants to you, and your employer if you are acting on behalf of your employer, a royalty-free license to download images for one-time editorial use in coverage of CI. The downloaded assets may not be used for commercial, advertising or other revenue generating purposes without express written permission of CI. Credit information is provided in asset metadata under copyright line.

Arlington, Va., February 6, 2017 — Today, Conservation International (CI) joins the award-winning production team at Jaunt in releasing “Under the Canopy,” a virtual reality (VR) film that allows you…

Arlington, Va., February 6, 2017 — Today, Conservation International (CI) joins the award-winning production team at Jaunt in releasing “Under the Canopy,” a virtual reality (VR) film that allows you to explore the extraordinary landscape of Amazonia guided by the indigenous people who inhabit the forest and are essential to its protection.

After descending a 200-foot Ceiba tree, you set off on a journey through the rainforest with Kamanja Panashekung, whose family has lived in the region for generations. As you paddle down a river past three-toed sloths and a 15-foot anaconda, you experience the intimate relationship between people and nature. Panashekung shows you how the forest supplies food, income and more, while he and his community draw on their collective knowledge in protecting its trees, waters and wildlife.

As Panashekung navigates, you ultimately find yourself surrounded by the results of rampant deforestation. Each year Amazonia loses an area of forest more than 1.5 times greater than the size of Yellowstone National Park.

“Kamanja’s community is one of over 350 indigenous communities throughout Amazonia that depend on the rainforest, as we all do — for the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International executive vice president and senior scientist. “‘Under the Canopy’ gives those who may never visit the Amazon rainforest an opportunity to repel down a 200-foot tree, see its wildlife up close, and understand what is at risk. Sustaining the Amazon is not an option, it is a necessity.”

The consequences of the deforestation shown in “Under the Canopy” reach far beyond Amazonia and its 30 million inhabitants. The film has special relevance given the Amazon’s role in building resilience to the impacts of climate change and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Amazonia contains 40 percent of the carbon stocks of tropical forests globally, provides 20 percent of the world’s breathable oxygen, holds a similar percentage of the world’s fresh water, and supports more species of plants and animals than anywhere else on the planet. It is also a spiritual wellspring for its people and all humanity. A vanishing Amazon not only threatens us physically, it diminishes the human spirit.

CI has worked in Amazonia for 30 years and has committed to a goal of zero net deforestation in the Amazon by 2020, working with local communities, governments, nonprofit organizations, the private sector and more.

The co-producers celebrated “Under the Canopy” during the 17th Annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The event, held at the Jaunt VR lounge, featured a limited private screening, reception and discussion with film director Patrick Meegan about the unique aspects of the “Under the Canopy” shoot and how virtual reality can be a critical agent for conservation.

“In approaching this project we wanted to not only illustrate the importance of conserving the rainforest in relation to climate change, but to create a thrilling experience for audiences far and wide,” said Meegan, creative director at Jaunt. “To do this, we married the experience of veteran nature filmmakers with up-and-coming technologists to develop new techniques and achieve VR shots — such as the vertical moves from canopy to forest floor — that are the first of their kind. We also took the Jaunt ONE camera to new heights — achieving impressive VR encounters with tropical birds, butterflies, sloths and more.”

The film was shot at two locations 1,400 miles apart in Suriname and in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park. Filmmakers used drones and cable-mounted cameras, including the award-winning Jaunt ONE camera, to move through the canopy and across the forest floor and capture the feel of being in the Amazon. In the film’s 3-D audio track, Panashekung’s storytelling in native Trio is punctuated by birdsong and alternates with that of actor and conservation activist Lee Pace, who voices the English translation.

“Under the Canopy” can be viewed in fully immersive VR on the
Jaunt VR App available on iOS, Android, Gear VR, PlayStation VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive — as well as in 360-degree format at
conservation.org/canopy. Viewers can help protect the Amazon by sharing the film with their social networks and supporting CI’s
Protect an Acre program.

The film was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation. MacArthur recognizes intact forest conservation as a key global priority for maintaining a peaceful and verdant world.

“Intact forests play a unique role in mitigating climate change and regulating the functioning of the planet. Yet, many are at risk. The virtual reality experience of “Under the Canopy” allows anyone to immerse themselves in the rainforests of Amazonia and walk alongside members of an indigenous community in Suriname who conserve these forests as part of their traditional lands, and importantly, for the benefit of all humanity.” said Chris Holtz, director of conservation and sustainable development at MacArthur.

Distribution support is provided by SC Johnson, a fifth-generation-led family company and the maker of trusted household products like Pledge®, Glade®, OFF!® and Ziploc®. The company has longstanding ties in Brazil that date back to 1935 when third-generation leader H.F. Johnson Jr. pioneered a 15,000-mile round-trip expedition to South America to study the carnaúba palm, the source for carnaúba wax, which was a key ingredient in its products at the time. The historical journey marked the beginning of the family’s and the company’s relationship with Brazil, a strong bond that continues to this day.

As part of its partnership with CI, the company has pledged to match consumer contributions to the campaign to protect up to 10,000 acres of tropical forest through Conservation International.

“The Amazon rainforest provides a wealth of ecosystem services that are critical for the sustenance of life on this planet — everything from fresh water and fresh air to carbon sequestration and extraordinary biodiversity, and even tourism and recreation,” said SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. “It is not only worth protecting, it is a necessity. We are delighted to help CI educate about and protect Amazonia.”

Additional support was provided by the Tiffany and Co. Foundation, partner and lead funder of CI’s “Valen’s Reef” VR film, and HP Inc., partner to CI’s “Nature Is Speaking” campaign.

“HP recognizes the responsibility to protect and sustain the world’s forests, which are vital to our planet’s life-support system,” said Nate Hurst, chief sustainability and social impact officer at HP. “That’s why we promote responsible printing solutions, practices and policies, like our commitment to zero deforestation associated with our paper and paper-based product packaging by 2020. We applaud the work of Conservation International and are proud to again support its efforts to use technology in “Under the Canopy” for a virtual look inside one of the most precious habitats in the world.”

“Under the Canopy” is CI’s second VR film release. CI’s first VR film, “Valen’s Reef,” tells the story of one of the most successful community-driven conservation projects in the world in the world, the Bird’s Head Seascape Initiative in Indonesia. More than 1.8 million people have viewed “Valen’s Reef” since its release in June 2016.

###

Assets for media use*:

Full-length Film on CI Website:
www.conservation.org/canopy

Full-length Film on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/iLQoAN085xo

Photos:
https://ci.tandemvault.com/lightboxes/AhKw6NC9k?t=zWqfVUGbI

Full-length Behind-the-Scenes Film: https://youtu.be/_yFC04D7dLs

Behind-the-Scenes Sloth Film: https://youtu.be/8abxR2Q_tzs

Behind-the-Scenes Drone Film: https://youtu.be/Jb9pZkyr7zE

Behind-the-Scenes Tree Rigging Film: https://youtu.be/a8IfX1n7i-4

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all.
Learn more about CI and its groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on Facebook,
Twitter,
Instagram and
YouTube.

About Jaunt

Jaunt is pioneering the future of creative storytelling through cinematic virtual reality. Founded in 2013, Jaunt is the leading developer of the hardware, software, tools and applications to enable cinematic VR and put the power of virtual reality in the hands of today’s best content creators. Jaunt works with leading creatives — from brands to artists to filmmakers — to create cutting-edge content accessible across all devices and platforms. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company also maintains a presence in Los Angeles through its studio arm, Jaunt Studios; a European business office in London; and an engineering and development office in Amsterdam. In 2016, Jaunt established Shanghai-based Jaunt China, a VR company formed in partnership with Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and China Media Capital (CMC). Collectively, Jaunt produces branded and original VR content for audiences worldwide. Join @JauntVR on
Facebook,
Twitter,
Instagram and
YouTube.

Jaunt’s investors include The Walt Disney Company, Evolution Media Partners, China Media Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat.1 SE, The Madison Square Garden Company, Peter Gotcher, Blake Krikorian, and Sky (corporate.sky.com). Experience more at www.jauntvr.com.

*By downloading these images you agree to the following licensing terms and conditions: CI grants to you, and your employer if you are acting on ​​behalf of your employer, a royalty-free license to download images for one-time editorial use in coverage of CI. The downloaded assets may not be used for commercial, advertising or other revenue generating purposes without express written permission of CI. Credit information is provided in asset metadata under copyright line.​

Abstract: Conservation International (CI) announced today that Jenny Parker McCloskey has joined the organization as Vice President of Media. ​Arlington, Va. (February 2, 2017) – Conservation International (CI) announced today…
Abstract: Conservation International (CI) announced today that Jenny Parker McCloskey has joined the organization as Vice President of Media.

​Arlington, Va. (February 2, 2017) – Conservation International (CI) announced today that Jenny Parker McCloskey has joined the organization as Vice President of Media.

Jenny comes to CI from the National Constitution Center where she served as Vice President of Communications. A veteran of the news industry, Jenny has also worked in-house at top-tier outlets such as ABC News, New York magazine and Fortune. She started out as an assistant to George Stephanopoulos, aiding the launch of his The New York Times best-selling memoir, All Too Human. Later, Jenny managed publicity at ABC News for 20/20 featuring Barbara Walters and for the primetime special, Peter Jennings Reporting.

“When it comes to sharing stories in today’s 24/7 news cycle, the podium has become overcrowded,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist at CI. “Jenny understands both the stakes and the storytelling potential, having served both in and out of the newsroom. We could not be in better hands to have our voice heard.”

Jenny is a graduate of Purchase College and holds a master’s degree in political science from the Graduate Faculty of the New School University.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and the “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on ​Facebook,
Twitter,
Instagram and
YouTube.

BOSTON, Mass. (January 27, 2017) — Today, Conservation International (CI) and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) join in a collaboration to advance nature-based solutions to mitigating and adapting to…

BOSTON, Mass. (January 27, 2017) — Today, Conservation International (CI) and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) join in a collaboration to advance nature-based solutions to mitigating and adapting to climate change through research and education. The research component of the multi-year effort will focus on four projects with significant potential for carbon storage models, including in coastal mangroves.

The collaboration will kick off with a
“Hackathon for Climate” on the MIT campus. Featuring students, staff and CI scientists, the hackathon will serve as a workshop environment for investigation and creation of nature-based solutions. Three tracks will guide the hackathon: hacking the material world, hacking the digital world and an open track for additional brainstorming of original ideas.

“Conservation International is thrilled to be part of this pioneering collaboration with the world’s premier scientific and engineering institute for research and learning,” says Daniela Raik, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Managing Director at CI. “Together with CI’s experience in conserving nature through its carbon-storing projects worldwide, we can design and implement nature-based solutions to real-world challenges around the globe.”

The first research project will pair ongoing CI field office work with extensions of studies already underway by MIT researchers. Heidi M. Nepf, Ph.D., the Donald and Martha Harleman Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Emily Pidgeon, Ph.D., senior director of Strategic Marine Initiatives for the Blue Carbon Initiative, will collaborate on natural defense design and carbon sequestration for proposed mangrove restoration projects. Mangroves could serve as a “green infrastructure” to protect coastal communities from flooding and erosion. The joint CI-MIT research could accelerate government investment in these approaches. The research will be tested in the Visayas region of the Central Philippines, which was hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

“We are embarking on surprising, novel and untested applications of science and engineering in the field of conservation,” said John E. Fernandez, Ph.D., director of the ESI. “We are optimistic about the technology that can be developed from such research and innovation.”

Other areas joint CI-MIT research projects will explore include:

  • Urban-natural interfacial zones – combining urban metabolism and ecological modeling for learning about the interaction between urban infrastructure and natural systems. Also, the CI-MIT collaboration will establish an approach for tracking how natural ecosystems provide for urban needs.
  • Information interfaces for monitoring land use and leveraging natural systems – research developed could expand on existing ecosystem services analyzed for climate change in the Amazon basin and inform policies to protect areas most sensitive to such conditions elsewhere. Also, land use distribution will be analyzed for its effect on ecosystem services. The CI-MIT collaboration will explore various sensor technologies, systems and models for understanding land use and ecosystem services.
  • Measuring the social, economic and environmental impact of climate change solutions in developing countries – apply impact evaluation techniques for measuring impact of environmental policies, such as randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental methodologies that have been widely performed in international development to educate policymakers over the last 30 years. The CI-MIT collaboration will explore creating a competitive research fund and post-doctoral fellowships to spur a new body of rigorous impact evaluations for mitigating the impact of climate change.

“With this collaboration, we are harnessing the most creative thinkers to address the exponential threats that climate change and ecological deterioration pose to our greater humanity,” said Peter Seligmann, founder and CEO of CI.​

The collaboration will also provide educational opportunities for MIT students. Students could conduct field work at CI sites in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Also, a Student Action Corps will provide students with opportunities to engage public audiences on climate issues and solutions through blog posts, op-eds and other digital/print communications.

Programming for the collaboration will include educational and outreach experiences: guest lectures at MIT by CI scientists as well as shared teaching opportunities; postdoctoral fellowships and workshops for researchers in developing countries; and class materials for K-12 students. Meanwhile, the Climate CoLab at MIT platform will power crowdsourcing contests, annual symposia and a joint, web-based public portal on nature-based solutions to climate mitigation and adaptation.

For more information, visit
Conservation International and
MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all.
Learn more about CI and the
“Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on
Facebook,
Twitter,
Instagram and
YouTube.

About the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative

The
MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) advances science, engineering, policy and social science, design, the humanities, and the arts towards a people-centric and planet-positive future. ESI pursues this mission by mobilizing students, faculty, and staff across MIT in partnerships for interdisciplinary education, research, and convening.​​

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