Esri Commits Technology and Expertise to Initiative Protecting Biodiversity
Esri, the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, today announced its partnership with the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and will be providing the mapping and analytics capabilities of the ArcGIS platform to the foundation’s Half-Earth Project. This initiative is working to conserve half the earth’s lands and seas to reverse the species extinction crisis currently threatening the planet.
“Species are the foundation of a healthy planet. When species have the space they need to thrive, we all benefit,” said Paula Ehrlich, president and CEO of the foundation and leader of the Half-Earth Project. “Our partnership with Esri comes at a critical moment in human history. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with them to provide the core scientific insight needed for everyone to work together to achieve the grand ambition of conserving biodiversity with the Half-Earth effort.”
The partnership between Esri and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation includes commitments by Esri to provide its geospatial cloud, ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, and significant geospatial and geoscience expertise, as well as financial support. Esri will also be asking its global user community to share biodiversity data to support the ongoing Half-Earth Project mapping and analytic efforts.
“In order to realize a vision on the scale of Half-Earth, we need to mobilize virtually everybody on the planet. It’s crucial that we bring together our best minds, our strongest science, and humanity’s best intentions to achieve positive results,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “By working together, we believe it will be possible to accelerate efforts worldwide to identify not just species at risk but also the areas of the planet that must be set aside and protected for long-term conservation of biodiversity. My personal belief is that this effort is critically important for the earth’s future.”
GIS has a crucial role to play in this effort. It will be the integrative technology to bring together information and communities that can portray what is happening in the world and who and what will be affected, as well as provide the map of what must be done.
The Half-Earth Project was inspired by the book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, written by American biologist and naturalist, E. O. Wilson. The goal of the project is to map global species distribution in unprecedented detail and use this information to identify conservation priorities that will safeguard species diversity. The Half-Earth Map will provide decision-makers and communities with the information they need to make informed conservation management decisions that meet the needs of both people and biodiversity.
A recently released United Nations (UN) report firmly establishes the unprecedented decline of species and the accompanying threat to all life. The most comprehensive study of its kind, this report states that more than 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction over the coming decades, endangering the very fabric of life humans depend on for survival.
“This partnership with Esri could not have come at a more important time for biodiversity and the future health of our planet,” said E. O. Wilson. “With the biodiversity of our planet mapped carefully and soon, the bulk of the earth’s species, including ourselves, can be saved.”
The partnership between Esri and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation will enable the Half-Earth Project to identify the places that have the best opportunities to safeguard biodiversity around the world. The partnership provides the technology and added geospatial expertise for a five-year period.
To learn more about how Esri is helping preserve the earth’s ecosystems, visit go.esri.com/half-earth.