In 2020 and beyond, conservation will need to meet the challenges associated with a changing climate.
This will require scientists, NGOs, companies and governments to work together to not only protect and rehabilitate large areas but to improve the resilience of existing ecosystems to drought, storms, flooding and rising sea levels.
“Mangroves are one of nature's most important tools in the battle against climate change. Globally, we’ve lost half of the world’s mangrove forests since the 1940s — so it’s high time we start preserving and protecting them.”
As part of its Give Back Campaign, technology giant Apple partnered with Conservation International to protect and restore 27,000 acres of mangrove habitat in Colombia. Mangroves reduce the impacts of large waves and high winds produced by cyclones and severe storms, helping to prevent loss of life and damage to infrastructure. The project has an added benefit of sequestering around 1 million metric tons of CO2 and improving local fish stocks, an important source of protein for nearby communities.
American food and beverage company Mondelēz International is supporting the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in the region. The collaboration helps conserve natural ecosystems and resources on cocoa farms while also increasing their resilience to climate change impacts, such as drought, changes in humidity and increased susceptibility to pests.
Companies need to be willing to utilize a variety of tools and technologies, such as gene editing, fire-related vegetation management, and reforesting of degraded land to prevent erosion and landslides. Future-proofing conservation efforts globally will have multiple benefits. Not only will it strengthen companies’ resilience in the face of worsening climate impacts in corporate supply chains, it will simultaneously boost the health and economic vitality of communities.