Earthwatch’s terrestrial ecosystems programs focus on the nexus of habitat preservation and restoration, assessing and mitigating the impacts of a changing climate, and the conservation of biodiversity. For nearly 50 years, Earthwatch volunteers have worked alongside expert scientists around the world to conserve some of the most fragile and unique ecosystems on land. These projects not only increase our scientific understanding of these ecosystems, but have resulted in new policies and management plans, including the creation of protected areas, parks, and refuges. Earthwatch’s priorities align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals—specifically, targets and indicators within SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).
Our Research Priorities
Ecosystem Restoration and Preservation
Led by Dr. Manoel Muanis, Earthwatch teams are helping to restore the Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu (REGUA) in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, while studying how mammals are responding to this newly created habitat. These data will be used as an indicator of whether forest restoration supports the same ecosystem services and functions as the original vegetation.
In 2019 alone, Earthwatch volunteers planted 1,050 native trees and built 20 artificial nests to help the endemic Cuban trogon, Cuban pygmy owl, and bare-legged owl as part of the expedition Mapping Biodiversity in Cuba. Led by Dr. Natalia Rossi, these efforts are helping to establish local and national guidelines to conserve and protect biodiversity in Cuba during a time of increasing economic development.
In the Peruvian Amazon, working alongside Dr. Richard Bodmer and members of the Cocama indigenous nation, Earthwatch teams are surveying wildlife populations on the expedition Amazon Riverboat Exploration. By assessing the health of this ecosystem, which has been dramatically impacted by the effects of climate change, these efforts have not only supported sustainable hunting and fishing practices, but have informed local and national climate change policies.
Deforestation is Threatening Critical Ecosystems Around the World
Scientists published a new paper this week finding that over 500 species of land vertebrates are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 1,000 individuals left.
We’re actually out there, we’re on the ground, we’re observing any changes that are occurring and we’re collecting data on them...The models are very important but the field data is there to make sure we’re on the right track.
Dr. Steve Mamet — Climate Change in the Mackenzie Mountains
Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe
How do three forces of nature—fire, wolves, and bison—shape the landscape?
Hike through the vast wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula while helping researchers explore the balance between community wellb
What can we learn about the behavior, habits, and needs of wildlife living in the Mongolian steppe?
YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS
Earthwatch depends on donations—above and beyond what we raise from volunteers who participate on our expeditions—in order to deliver our global conservation mission. In fact, volunteer contributions provide only half of the total resources Earthwatch needs to sustain over 40 field research expeditions, a wide variety of educational programs, corporate sustainability trainings, and more each year.