CMEW > Our Work > Conservation
CMEW works with government and NGO partners worldwide to evaluate the effectiveness of land, species, and marine conservation programs.
Whether in urban, rural, or natural settings, land use and management directly affect natural resources and the environment. These impacts can include damaged ecosystems, soil erosion and degradation, and the loss of open space and farmland on the urban fringe. CMEW examines land use and land management in all these contexts, ranging from tree cover loss in shade coffee areas of Mexico and El Salvador to wetlands policy in the United States.
Experts are currently leading a two-year study to explore the role of "green infrastructure" as a buffer against climate-induced increases in flooding. Learn more about this project here.
Biodiversity and Species Management
Many species continue to decline in numbers. Even some species protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act are recovering only slowly. Improving this situation requires targeting resources to habitats or activities that are most conducive to species protection and recovery. CMEW experts analyze approaches to improving the cost-effectiveness of biodiversity conservation through better prioritization of conservation alternatives.
As agricultural issues become more intertwined with energy, biodiversity, development, and water concerns, there are significant implications for both food and agriculture systems and how to best manage their associated environmental, health, and natural resource impacts. Current areas of research include options for strengthening public and private food safety and risk management systems, water allocation between agriculture and urban use, and the interaction between energy markets and agricultural production.
Marine and Fisheries
In the early 1970s, RFF experts developed the idea of a rights-based fishing paradigm as a way to address unsustainable fishing practices. This resulted in one of the major innovations in fisheries management—individual tradable quotas (ITQs). Recent CMEW research has evaluated the performance of ITQ programs, quota trading markets, effects of ITQs on distributional outcomes between fishers and processors, the impacts of no-take areas on fisheries and marine biodiversity, and the potential for creating negotiated fishing "zones" in the world's seas.
Outdoor Resources Review Group
CMEW is providing analysis to inform a bipartisan panel reviewing conservation, outdoor recreation, and related issues in light of changes in the needs of the American public and the resources available to meet those needs.