Conservation X Labs reports on the Ten Grand Challenges for Water & Biodiversity Conservation.

Conservation X Labs reports on the Ten Grand Challenges for Water & Biodiversity Conservation.

Saving Water For Nature Report

Ten Grand Challenges for Water & biodiversity conservation

The problems facing freshwater ecosystems and developing economies need revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, solutions to scale over the next decade. Saving Water for Nature: Ten Grand Challenges for Water and Biodiversity Conservation outlines opportunities for technology and innovation to radically transform the future for freshwater ecosystems and the human communities that rely on them.

Over the course of 2018, Conservation X Labs conducted an extensive literature review and consultations, as well as researched past and ongoing prize and challenge competitions that address water and biodiversity conservation, to develop the Grand Challenges proposed in the Saving Water for Nature report.

Conservation X Labs CEO Alex Dehgan and Director of Field Operations Cassie Hoffman

Conservation X Labs CEO Alex Dehgan and Director of Field Operations Cassie Hoffman

Addressing the Problem of Scale in Conservation

Conservation has a scale problem. Our conservation interventions remain piecemeal, marginal, and highly-site specific, yet ecological change and degradation are accelerating and consumer material demand increasing rapidly. In the face of such radical environmental change, we must fundamentally rethink and scale our approach to conservation to match the magnitude of the challenge.

While critics argue that the nature of conservation requires highly local interventions and point to past failed attempts to scale, we argue that there are scalable solutions in conservation, and it’s a matter of overcoming the process challenge and being more strategic in the means elected for scaling. We examine products and solutions in the private sector, social entrepreneurship, and other international development fields to learn what approaches led to successful scaling. The article concludes with a synthesis of these applied lessons from other fields in tailored list of applied guidelines to scale in conservation.

launching The grand challenges OF oceanS conservation

There is broad recognition that ocean ecosystems and the human systems they support face new threats in the 21st century. From plastics pollution to acidification and warming to overfishing and invasive species, ocean conservation will require innovative technologies and approaches that ensure the future of our oceans.

Conservation X Labs signature report, Launching the Grand Challenges of Oceans Conservation, lays out the ten most pressing problems facing the oceans and the technologies required to address them. This report was the basis of The Blue Economy Challenge, a challenge competition on sustainable aquaculture in partnership with the Australian government, and Oceans X Labs, the first conservation technology accelerator in partnership with World Wildlife Fund.

Photo credit: National Invasive Species Council

Photo credit: National Invasive Species Council

As an output of NISC Secretariat contract number D16PX00293, this manuscript fulfills action item 5.1.6 of the 2016–2018 NISC Management Plan. It is a pre-publication copy and not for citation. Contact Jason Kirkey, NISC Secretariat Director of Communications, if questions arise:

Pre-publication draft

Advancing federal capacities for the early detection of and rapid response to invasive species through technology innovation

Invasive species early detection and rapid response (EDRR) actions could integrate technologies, innovation, and other outside expertise into invasive species management.

From early detection by forecasting the next invasion and improved surveillance through automation, to tools to improve rapid response, the next generation of management tools for a national EDRR program could integrate advances in technologies including the small size and ubiquity of sensors, satellites, drones, and bundles of sensors (like smartphones); advances in synthetic, molecular, and micro-biology; improved algorithms for artificial intelligence, machine vision and machine learning; and open innovation and citizen science. This paper reviews current and emerging technologies that the federal government and resource managers could utilize as part of a national EDRR program, and makes a number of recommendations for integrating technological solutions and innovation into the overall Federal Government response.