Safeguarding the natural world
The growing and unsustainable demand by people for natural resources is putting the natural world under severe pressure.
Globally, nearly a quarter of all mammal species and a third of amphibians are threatened with extinction. The rapid destruction of forests - every year an area the size of England is lost - not only harms forest-dwelling wildlife but also adds to the growing danger of climate change.
The increasing threat to some of the planet’s most important rivers, lakes and wetlands has been matched by a 29% decline in populations of freshwater wildlife in just 30 years. And in the oceans, 40 million tonnes of bycatch (including 300,000 marine mammals) are caught accidentally each year when targeting other species.
The threat to people and their livelihoods is, of course, of equal concern. For example, more than a billion people do not have access to clean water. Some 250 million people worldwide earn their living from fishing.
Around the world, WWF works with a wide range of partners in business, government and local communities to create sustainable solutions that take account of the needs of both people and nature.
Our practical conservation work with our colleagues in the global WWF Network focuses on safeguarding wildlife and places considered by WWF to be of global importance. This is supported by policy initiatives at a UK, EU and global level - creating the commercial and legal frameworks that ensure good governance of natural resources.
Protecting the world's species and their habitats lies at the heart of WWF's mission to conserve the earth's biodiversity and was the prime reason for the organisation's establishment in 1961.
Forests contain as much as 90 per cent of the world's terrestrial biodiversity - from charismatic mammals such as the great apes, tiger and panda to millions of species of plants. We cannot conserve species without conserving their habitat.
Without water there would be no life on Earth. Freshwater ecosystems clean and store the water that is essential for human livelihoods and for the survival of wildlife. These ecosystems are a vital component in the hydrological cycle.
The oceans, seas and coasts are under severe strain. Some 250 million people earn their living from fishing, up to 70% of humans rely on fish as their primary source of protein, and more than 90% of our trade is carried by shipping – and yet, less than 1% of the world’s seas are protected.