The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) announced the launch of four new multi-disciplinary teams aimed at tackling global issues including land use, soil carbon, conservation offsets, and human health and the environment. SNAPP, a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and NCEAS, is a scientific collaboration that develops solutions to some of the world’s most significant conservation challenges that impact both people and nature.
The new multi-disciplinary teams include:
The Orinoquia region of Colombia is the second largest savanna system in South America and considered the last agricultural frontier on the continent. To inform decision-making in the area, the Land-Use Change (Orinoquia) Working Group is synthesizing the potential ecological, social and development effects of expanding agricultural commodities and related land-use changes at the landscape and regional scale to identify what the consequences of different land-use scenarios might be for nature and people.
Any viable approach to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (adopted in 2015) requires addressing soil, which is the foundation of both healthy natural and agricultural systems. However there is a lack of reliable, quantitative data on the contributions of key soil properties to achieve production and environmental goals. The Managing Soil Carbon Working Group is working to improve science-based soil management by quantifying the relationships between: soil organic matter and crop yield, livestock value, carbon storage, biodiversity outcomes, and nutrient retention.
Industrial development is a necessary reality for most countries but innovative compensatory mechanisms, such as offsets, are increasingly being used by governments and others to counterbalance unavoidable biodiversity and ecosystem service impacts. The Compensatory Conservation Working Group is developing criteria, linked to sectoral and in-country circumstances, for identifying the type of compensatory approach most likely to deliver equitable conservation benefits across a range of objectives, and take advantage of current activities to test and illustrate biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes from alternative compensatory approaches.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and a new scientific movement focused on the concept of “Planetary Health” are drawing increased attention to the links between human health and the environment. The Ecological Levers for Health Working Group will seek to identify clear links between disease transmission and environmental degradation by building on recent work in West Africa that showed ecological levers – like restoration of certain species – were more effective for controlling the spread of human schistosomiasis than direct health interventions alone.
Food and Forests in Africa
Food demand in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to triple between 2010 and 2050, and increased food production in this region typically causes deforestation. This working group will investigate the associated risks and trade-offs facing land managers and policy makers in the region, and the conditions that enable the better management of risks and trade-offs, in order to model alternative future scenarios that could yield greater food production alongside forest conservation. The group will focus its research on Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, in order to build on relevant work of group members and other SNAPP groups. Website currently under construction.
SNAPP has launched 29 working group projects since its inception in 2013, which to date have produced 35 peer reviewed scientific publications, 13 online tools, and raised more than $7 million to follow-up on the outcome of SNAPP groups and to take those outcomes into practice.
Visit here for a full list of SNAPP multi-disciplinary teams.