Five years ago Conservation International was facing a sobering dilemma. Enormous development agendas were bulldozing their way into the last unspoiled places. Also under threat was conservation work, accomplished over the course of decades, to stave off the extinctions of plant and animal species. While the situation was bleak, a new global environmental consciousness was forming that showed the way forward. It would require a bold new approach, taking into account not just a particular national park or endangered species but entire landscapes and regions.
The Centers for Biodiversity Conservation (CBCs) were created to take up this challenge. Since 2001, the first four CBCs in the Andes, Brazil and the Guianas, Madagascar, and Melanesia have yielded impressive results, proving the power of collaboration. Concrete achievements include the unprecedented expansions of protected area systems. New scientific research has increased our knowledge of entire ecosystems and how their continued health is intricately tied to the health of all species, including humans. And hundreds of new partnerships with local communities, governments and the private sector have allowed the CBCs to leverage conservation outcomes that would have been impossible for any one group alone.
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