International Connectivity

Connecting People and Ecosystems to Protect Nature Around the World

As human populations grow, we are disrupting nature and threatening the survival of millions of plants and animals that support all life on Earth. Biodiversity is plummeting as increasing development isolates natural areas, hinders wildlife movement, and chokes off the flow of natural processes like water and nutrient cycling, pollination, and seed dispersal.

In response, the International Connectivity Program is leading a global movement to safeguard nature and its biodiversity by conserving the interconnections of terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. Working with partners around the world, we are driving solutions that protect Earth’s ecological connectivity, which will in turn increase resiliency to climate change, and achieve enduring large-scale conservation.

Promoting Connectivity Conservation Around the World

The Center is committed to elevating connectivity conservation through collaborative partnerships, highlighted by our role as Secretariat of the IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCSG).

CCSG’s 1,300+ volunteer members from 125+ countries are experts working in government, scientific, academic, non-profit, and business sectors who promote connectivity conservation at local to international levels.

The Group recruits members and engages partners worldwide to inspire innovation, raise awareness, and increase capacity to achieve a healthier planet of connected ecosystems.  

The IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group and the Center collaborated with 100+ experts in 80+ countries to deliver the first-ever IUCN Guidelines for Conserving Connectivity through Ecological Networks and Corridors in 2020. Culminating over two decades of effort by the Union, the Guidelines and 25 case studies—now translated from English into four languages—are the leading resource for advancing best practices for maintaining, enhancing, and restoring ecological connectivity. 

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For more information on the Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group, please contact Aaron Laur.

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Addressing the Impacts of Infrastructure on the Environment

The Center is addressing the immense impact of linear infrastructure on the environment, especially roads, railways, canals, and transmission lines. For example, through support of the CCSG Transport Working Group, 100+ members are advancing scientific and policy solutions to avoid and mitigate impacts that include habitat fragmentation and wildlife mortality. View the Transport Working Group’s technical report ‘Addressing ecological connectivity in the development of roads, railways and canals,’ published in 2023.

Additional subgroups are also actively addressing specific and urgent issues:

The Asian Elephant Transport Working Group informs research, data collection, analysis, and capacity-building to protect the threatened core habitats and movement corridors in the Asian elephant’s 13 range states.

The Latin American and Caribbean Transport Working Group brings together biologists, transportation practitioners, and financial institution specialists to promote leadership in sustainable planning, design, construction, and monitoring of infrastructure development that supports ecological connectivity.

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For more information about the Center’s International Connectivity Program, please contact Aaron Laur.

The LISA Project: Building a Foundation for Linear Infrastructure Safeguards in Asia

Asia is home to some of the world’s richest biodiversity and most complex ecosystems. Yet, as Asia experiences unprecedented economic growth, much of the region’s native wildlife and natural heritage are threatened by the rapid expansion of roads, railways, and other linear infrastructure development. The Linear Infrastructure Safeguards in Asia (LISA) project built a foundation of information and knowledge to develop wildlife-friendly linear infrastructure. Learn more

FOCUS-BRI: Assessing Ecological Impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is one of the largest infrastructure initiatives ever undertaken. FOCUS-BRI was a yearlong, in-depth assessment of 12 countries where BRI and other national or international investments were being made for infrastructure projects. The Center sought to better understand the current and potential capabilities within these countries to conserve ecological connectivity, maintain ecosystem services, and conserve biodiversity. Learn more


Improving Capacity and Connectivity Between Reserves in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

On the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Mountain Ecosystems of Koytendag make up a unique and biodiverse landscape, especially important for storing and releasing water. Rising from caves to hot plains, through diverse forests and to snow-capped mountains, it is home to small towns and communities, cultural and sacred sites, and vulnerable and endangered wildlife such as urial, lynx, and markhor. Unfortunately, agricultural expansion, overgrazing, illegal hunting, and unmanaged tourism threaten the area. Our work builds on our previous project – Connectivity, Capacity, and Cats – to advance activities that enhance management and conservation of vital connections across the critical ecosystems. Learn more

WildlifeConnect: A Joint Initiative

The Wildlife Connect Initiative works to conserve the ecological connectivity of landscapes around the world, ensuring viable wildlife populations, ecosystem services, resilience to climate change, and human well-being. The Initiative is a collaboration with the IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group, WWF, and the Convention on Migratory Species. We are bringing people and organizations together to advance science, policy, and practice, including in four demonstration landscapes: Southern Kenya-Northern Tanzania; Central India Tiger Landscape; Pantanal-Chaco in South America; and the Carpathians in Eastern Europe – each a beautiful and unique area containing a diverse array of flora and fauna. Learn more



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