Five Endstates for 2030

Following are initial drafts of five endstates for the Future of Conservation Strategy.  They depict different visions for how conservation as practiced in the U.S. changes over the next 15 years in response to various challenges.  They are not meant to be mutually exclusive, although it is clear that they all can’t happen in this timeframe.  The real future will be a blend of these possibilities.  But for the moment, we consider them in isolation and think about the pros and cons of each and what it will take to make each happen.  It should be noted that these are all some version of success for the field.  We have not included an outright failure scenario in the mix, but that remains a clear possibility.

The endstates were developed based on interviews with over 150 people from diverse corners of the conservation field, as well has hundreds of papers, articles and websites.  We are asking you to read these five statements about how the field evolves between now and 2030.  When finished, we would like you to follow the link below to rank order them on two measures:

  • Desirability:  which is the most desirable outcome from your point of view?  Put the most desirable first and the least desirable last, then fill in the middle rank positions.
  • Attainability:  which is the easiest to make happen in your opinion?  The most attainable first and the least attainable last, then fill in the middle rank positions.

The results of the ranking exercise will be shared with all through our blog.  Please take the time to record your rankings.  The endstates can also be downloaded as a PDF here.  Feel free to forward the link to these freely to others who might find them interesting.

In a workshop setting, five teams would work with each of the endstates and develop sequences of actions (investments, policy, opinion shifts, etc.) that would enable each endstate to come about.  The teams would then be shuffled and new teams would look at how to blend the best of each scenario into a composite view of future evolution of the field.

Read the endstates and then do the ranking exercise by going to:

2030 A: Protection

Emotional connections and moral arguments to protect the diversity of nature for its own sake awaken broad support. Setting aside and protecting remaining major wild areas while still possible becomes a rallying point for conservationists. Legal/regulatory protection of species remains strong with improved protection for critical habitats as well. (Read more . . .)

2030 B: Economics

Expressing our values toward nature in economic terms broadly engages the private sector, including global capital markets.  Ecosystem services valuation is a core methodology.  Ecological economics guides design of markets and other incentive systems for minimizing negative impacts on a large scale. Conservation is seen as more than just a tax deduction. (Read more . . .)

2030 C: Change

Conservation practice has come to grips with the reality of changing ecosystems and often manages to targets other than historic baselines. A more flexible and nuanced definition of nature values novel and hybrid ecosystems as part of the mix of the conserved landscape.  Methods embrace uncertainty, stressing observation, trials, and caution in interventions. (Read more . . .)

2030 D: Collaboration

Most conservation is practiced as a collaborative venture with diverse stakeholders, including local communities, with the goal of broadening support through more flexible and less dogmatic approaches.  The key is planning across an entire landscape or watershed to maximize multiple goals through integrated solutions. (Read more . . .)

2030 E: Anthropocene

The full realization of what conservation is in the Anthropocene is starting to emerge.  Only through radical innovation and serious intervention in natural systems can healthy ecosystem functioning be preserved. Conservation has merged with broader climate crisis response and environmental justice movements to remain relevant.  (Read more . . .)

After you have read the endstates, please do the ranking exercise by going to:

You will be asked to register using your email address.  This way we can ensure that each person only submits one ranking.  If you go back and do the ranking again, the new data will replace the previous entry.  All accounts have the same password:  CLIMATE (all caps), which you will need to login in the future if you wish to resubmit your rankings.