A world where people better understand, value, and safeguard freshwater biodiversity.
The challenges we face:
Freshwater ecosystems are among the most complex, dynamic, and diverse on Earth.
Current water- and land-use practices have led to unprecedented rates of decline in freshwater species and ecosystems, and in their genetic and functional diversity.
Global commitments to halt this loss of freshwater biodiversity are not being met.
Freshwater ecosystems only cover an estimated 0.8% of the world’s surface yet support up to 12% of the world’s known species, making freshwater ecosystems a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al., 2010). Freshwater ecosystems also provide important services, with one estimate valuing them at US$4 trillion per year (Costanza et al. 2014).
Although our understanding of global freshwater biodiversity is incomplete, we know that 1 in 3 freshwater species are threatened with extinction, and the current rates of population decline in freshwater species are twice that of marine and terrestrial life. Almost two thirds of the world's inland wetlands have disappeared or been severely degraded in the past century.
The key causes of these declines are water- and land-use policies that neglect freshwater life and the absence of freshwater biodiversity from the global environment agenda. Urgent action is needed to develop policies and practices that meet human needs and conserve freshwater life.
Our mission is to halt and reverse the global decline of freshwater biodiversity through research, data synthesis, conservation, education, outreach, and policy-making.
Our vision is a world where people better understand, value, and safeguard freshwater biodiversity.
Costanza et al. 2014. Changes in the global value of ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change, v. 26, 152-158.
Mittermeier et al. 2010. Fresh water: the essence of life. CEMEX & ILCP, Arlington, Virginia, USA.