Free Interactive Report
Life on Land and Nature Conservation in the US
UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, Life on Land, aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and end biodiversity loss by 2030.
In the US, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the main law protecting threatened and endangered species and the habitats they rely on. It is estimated that 99% of species protected under the ESA avoid extinction. Grizzly bears, humpback whales, and bald eagles are just a few of the roughly 291 species that have been saved from extinction as a result of the ESA. Currently, 1,665 species found in the US are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA.
Everything that makes the planet inhabitable is supported by biodiversity. It is essential for creating the food, air, water, and energy we all depend on, and underpins many industries including agriculture, construction, fisheries, and tourism. Biodiversity is most threatened by land-use changes, climate change, pollution, resource exploitation, and invasive species, especially when these challenges are found in forest ecosystems - which are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects and cover 1/3 of the Earth’s surface.
Use the tool below to view biodiversity-related indicators nationally or by state, as well as an overview of the more than 11,200 nonprofits organizations that work on addressing related issues in the US. You can also discover 179 products and services in our Tech for Good Directory related to endangered species, land use, extinction and other key areas of biodiversity conservation.
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Interactive Report Notes:
* The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is one of the largest private lands conservation programs in the US. It is run by the USDA Farm Service Agency where farmers volunteer to sign on to 10-15 year contracts and remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health with the goal of improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and increasing habitat for endangered and threatened species.
- Forest Coverage: USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory & Analysis 2019 & USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Fact Sheets 2021 (accessed via National Association of State Foresters)
- Endangered and Threatened Species: US Fish & Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online System 2021
- Farmland data: USDA ERS 2021 & The Agriculture Census 2017
- Total Acres and % Forest Burned: National Interagency Fire Center Wildfires and Acres Statistics 2002 -2020 and GC Insights analysis of
- Nonprofit-related data: GC Insights analysis of over one million forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service -IRS 2018-2020
- IISD – Where Are We in Achieving SDG 15?
- UN SDGs – SDG 15
- USDA ERS – State Farm Data
- NWF – The U.S. Biodiversity Crisis
- US EPA – Biodiversity Conservation
- Greenwald et al – Extinction and the U.S. Endangered Species Act
- Center for American Progress – Measuring Conservation Progress in North America
- IUCN Red List
- SDG Tracker – SDG 15
- The Nature Conservancy – Biodiversity: Nature by Another Name
- UNEP – Biodiversity: our solutions are in nature
- FAO – The State of the World’s Forests 2020
- Conservation International
- FAO – The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture 2019
- Center for Biological Diversity – Pollinators in Peril
- USDA Farm Service Agency – The Conservation Reserve Program
- The American Farm Bureau Federation – 140 Million Acres in Federal Farm Conservation Programs
- Clancy et al – Protecting endangered species in the USA requires both public and private land conservation
- EcoWatch – Why Biodiversity Loss Hurts Humans as Much as Climate Change Does
- Center for American Progress – How Much Nature Should America Keep?
- Medium – The key to Biden’s 30×30 is private land
- Pew Charitable Trust