Conservationists see the Asia-Pacific as offering one of the world’s best opportunities to nurse the environment back to health.
Perhaps our best hope is in China, which is breaking records by the minute. It has the largest population and the fastest-growing economy. It’s also forecast to become the number one greenhouse gas emitter by 2009, overtaking the United States a decade earlier than estimated. Chinese demand for timber, petroleum, minerals, fish, and other products to feed its prodigious growth create a “footprint” that is ever-increasing and threatening to wildlife and their habitats across the world’s land and oceans. Yet with the right economic incentives, advancements in renewable energy technology, and a more demanding public, China holds great potential to help control and reverse its impacts on the planet.
Nowhere else are those effects more visible than in Asia-Pacific, especially in the region’s waters. From the islands of Melanesia to the Indonesian archipelago to the rivers of Indo-Burma, warming temperatures combined with destructive human activities have wiped out entire species. Sharks that once swarmed the islands and reefs have nearly disappeared, a majority killed for their fins to be sold at wildlife markets. Coastal development and commercial fishing operations have generated huge amounts of pollution that has not only been harmful, but often deadly, to the region’s vibrant marine life.
Despite these concerns, paradise in Asia still abounds. The region’s clouded mountain peaks, pristine rivers, and lush forests harbor plants and animals unlike any other on Earth – 13 of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located here, along with an important tropical wilderness and amazing seascapes.
And our work in Singapore – the Asia-Pacific hub for business, policy and innovation – allows us to partner with the region's multi-national corporations and governments to develop strong sustainable practices.
Cambodia, one of Southeast Asia’s most biologically intact nations, has emerged from civil war to reveal a stunning topography that is quickly garnering attention from scientists around the world.
China is changing fast. The dramatic pace of growth is matched only by both domestic and foreign demand for China’s natural resources and the products that come from them.
Sharks that walk across the ocean floor. Fifty new marine species found in six weeks. These latest scientific discoveries in Indonesia could make you believe anything is possible.
For the people of Papua New Guinea, sharing land is simply a fact of life. Sitting just below the equator, the country owns the eastern half of the island of New Guinea plus several hundred islands offshore.
The entire Philippines is a megadiverse region as well as a biodiversity hotspot. From upland forest to coral reefs, our work here helps conserve nature's riches and sustain its benefits to people.