As part of a new, broader strategy to build on its historic focus on biodiversity preservation, the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a ten-year, $176 million commitment to conservation and sustainable development.
Under the new strategy, the foundation will provide grants designed to create and expand incentives to conserve ecosystems; assist the rural poor in securing and managing their traditional natural resources; address major drivers of ecosystem decline globally, including climate change and growing demand for food, energy, and water; and support new policy research and analysis that can help society understand and respond to increased ecosystem pressures.
Approximately two-thirds of the commitment will be focused on four geographic areas selected for their potential to produce multiple benefits: the Great Lakes region of East Central Africa; the Greater Mekong and its headwaters; the watersheds of the Andes; and coastal marine littorals. Specific guidelines will be posted on the foundation's Web site in the near future, and proposals for new grants will be accepted beginning in 2012.
"Our new strategy evolved from the success of our previous efforts and the work of our grantees in helping to protect land and seascapes around the world," said MacArthur Foundation director of conservation and sustainable development Jorgen Thomsen. "To achieve even greater impact in the future we must consider and address the significant role of water, food, energy, and climate change on biodiversity."