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In the early decades of the twenty-first century, a growing community of volunteer and professional conservationists in the United States and around the world is striving, with some notable success, to protect land, aquatic environments, and biodiversity. In many instances, American conservationists have acted creatively and with considerable passion to innovatively protect and manage land and waterscapes owned and managed by the public, private, independent sectors. The land, water and natural resources that conservationists are working to protect have a range of significant values – as recreational open space, as resources integral to our supply of fresh water and clean air, as prime working land and waterscapes, as critical habitat for native plants and animals, and as the irreplaceable heritage of life that has evolved on earth over hundreds of millions of years.

Despite remarkable achievements and progress in recent decades, conservationists face dauntingly complex and dynamic challenges ahead. These include continuing growth in human populations, changes in demographic patterns, ongoing technological development, and systemic changes in climate and other earth systems. These changes, occurring in both expected and unforeseen ways, are closely linked to accelerated loss of open space, intensified landscape fragmentation, further degradation of wildlife habitat, alarming declines in the viability of a wide range of biological species, and potentially significant stresses to earth systems.

What is promising during this demanding time is the realization that, as was true of earlier eras in U.S. and world history, these dramatic present-day challenges to land, water, and biodiversity resources provide an excellent context for landmark conservation innovation. Twenty-first century conservation practitioners are highly motivated to identify and implement new initiatives commensurate with the complex challenges of our day. Indeed, we are witness to efforts potentially forging remarkable advances in the fields of conservation science, education, advocacy and policy, resource protection, and stewardship. The realization of such opportunities is the focus of the Program on Conservation Innovation.

We welcome your interest and participation, and look forward to your inquiries and comments. You can reach us at:

The Program on Conservation Innovation
PO Box 79218, Waverley, MA 02479
Work telephone: 617-489-7800
E-Mail: james_levitt@harvard.edu 

This website has been designed and is maintained with the support of Highstead, a non-profit organization that works to conserve the forested landscape of New England through science, sound stewardship, and collaboration with our regional partners. www.highstead.net.