Annual Report 2008
Seeing Change, Guiding Change
There are periods when the scope and pace of change accelerate, and the basic ideas that a generation took for granted no longer seem to provide useful insights for the future. In 2008 we found ourselves in just such a place. Increasing evidence of climate change and the beginnings of a global economic crisis, among other events, made it clear that the world around us is changing very quickly.
Moreover, it is not enough merely to respond to changes in information, policies and attitudes. Leading organizations must actively anticipate such shifts in order to effectively address them.
As we realize the impact of the collective footprint we leave, our society is seeking effective ways to transform its relationship to the natural world. Societal changes that will bring new energy sources, disrupted climate patterns, and dramatic shifts in how we use land and water are on their way. These changes will create both benefits and challenges. For example, the shift to alternative energy sources is one positive change that, if pursued carelessly, could readily create new problems as natural habitats in marginally productive areas are converted to crops, and wind farms disrupt flyways for migratory birds and bats.
We need, therefore, a comprehensive understanding of how the forces of change, with their many consequences both good and bad, may affect biodiversity. NatureServe plays a leading role in understanding these changes and in shaping the needed solutions. In the past year, NatureServe research has revealed that native fish species in U.S. watersheds are in significant decline, and that fully one-third of the world’s frogs, toads and salamanders are at risk of extinction. At the same time, we have advanced scientific approaches to addressing climate change, invasive species, and rapid land use conversion. We have been actively involved in shaping state wildlife action plans, guiding renewable energy development, and creating a national standard for classifying habitats. And we have built conservation capacity through training and sharing our methods and information with policy makers, scientists, land trusts, and the conservation community.
For more than three decades, NatureServe and its international network of member programs have developed the high-quality data, innovative tools, and conservation expertise needed to understand and conserve biodiversity. I sincerely thank you for your partnership and continued support of our mission, and I look forward to the ideas and solutions we will generate together—not only to respond to the changes we see, but to guide them as well.
- Mary L. Klein
- President and CEO