Biodiversity | Wilson Center


Madagascar Action Plan 2007-2012: A Bold and Exciting Vision for Rapid Development

The goal of the 2007-2012 Madagascar Action Plan (MAP) is to "fight against poverty and to improve the economy," announced Madagascar's Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Marius Ratolojanahary at a February 5, 2008, event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Forest Service.

Book Discussion: People on the Move: Reducing the Impact of Human Migration on Biodiversity

A highly politicized issue, migration is often discussed in terms of economics, nationality, and culture. Yet this perspective leaves out a crucial factor: the environment. Environmental degradation is a frequent cause and consequence of human migration, particularly in developing countries.

Examining Environmental Links to Peace and Conflict in Sudan: The UN Environment Programme's Sudan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment

Efforts to end the ongoing violence in Darfur and build on the 2005 peace agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan must consider how environmental problems such as deforestation, drought, and desertification affect the balance between peace and conflict.

Creating the Enabling Environment for Effective Fisheries Enforcement

"Global fishing is a system out of balance," said Tom Grasso, director of the World Wildlife Fund's International Fisheries Conservation Program at an event sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Program on April 10, 2007. Correcting the imbalance, he said, requires taking a "systems" approach to fisheries—a holistic framework that addresses the various drivers of overfishing, as well as the current inadequacies in enforcement and governance.

Reception: Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation Exhibition

Environmental issues—water, climate, land, forests, and minerals—have played a part in some of world's worst conflicts. But these resources can also help build peace. These issues are the focus of a multimedia exhibit, "Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation," on display through April 20, 2007, in the Wilson Center Memorial Hallway.

Created by Berlin's Adelphi Research at the initiative of the German Federal Foreign Ministry, the exhibit aims to addresses three questions:

Globalized Trade and the Macroeconomics of Capture Fisheries

Unless the steep decline of commercial fisheries is corrected, the world could run out of fish for consumption by 2048, said a team of researchers led by Borris Worm in Science magazine in November. This prediction may not come to pass, but it does not change the present reality: fisheries around the world are overharvested, in decline, and poorly managed. Repairing them, then, requires tackling the inequities created by problematic international trade laws and practices, said speakers at the Woodrow Wilson Center on February 22, 2007.

Growing Demand and Local Communities: The Socio-Economics of Capture Fisheries

Around the world, growing global demand saps natural resources. Demand for palm oil— a popular cooking oil and growing source of "green" fuel—is driving deforestation of some tropical rainforests. Blue agave is dwindling as tequila sales rise.

HIV/AIDS, Agriculture, and Conservation: Impacts and Solutions

The impact of HIV/AIDS extends far beyond human health—it also has profound effects on households, communities, agriculture, land use, and conservation efforts, to name only a few. In many parts of the developing world, families affected by AIDS are forced to juggle assets to adjust to lost land or labor; while the conservation sector struggles to transfer knowledge as employees die or fall ill. Yet, despite its far-reaching and varied impact, AIDS remains largely managed by the public health sector.

Managing Freshwater Inflows to Estuaries

Estuaries form where freshwater from the land meets saltwater from the sea. These delicate ecosystems—created by the mixing of salt, soil, and water at certain temperatures and speeds—play a crucial role in maintaining healthy and productive fish populations. In coastal areas of the developing world, fish provide a substantial amount of dietary protein and a significant source of income. "Estuaries are literally the social safety net for hundreds of millions of people," said Richard Volk of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Film Screening and Discussion: The Cardamoms: Have Forest, Have Life

The Cardamoms mountain range in southwest Cambodia is a haven of biodiversity, and home to numerous ethnic groups. Unchanged by major human activity for centuries, the area was opened to development following the collapse of the Khmer Rouge. With development came the hope of prosperity, but also an upsurge in large-scale logging, poaching, and river pollution. A new community outreach film, The Cardamoms: Have Forest, Have Life, attempts to reverse years of ecological damage by instilling in local communities a sense of stewardship in the land upon which they rely. The U.S.