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Experts Convene to Safeguard San Diego’s Biodiversity

Regional Experts Join Forces for Nature's Future

San Diego County is the most biodiverse county in the continental U.S., offering a remarkable richness of life. But due to threats like development and climate change, biodiversity is imperiled.

On Thursday, February 22, experts from many sectors—state and federal agencies, academic institutions, tribes, and community-led organizations from both sides of the border—came together for the San Diego Biodiversity Conservation Summit at the San Diego Natural History Museum in an unprecedented step to conserve biodiversity in the greater San Diego region. 

“The initiative can serve as a model for other cities and set an example of an inclusive, science-led process,” said Vice President of Science and Conservation Johno Niles. 

Held in partnership with SANDAG and facilitated by The Nonprofit Institute, the San Diego Biodiversity Conservation Summit included moderated discussions and feedback-gathering activities about the status of wildlife and habitats in our region. Discussion and feedback sessions included topics on binational and Indigenous connections, ecosystem connectivity, policy and funding, climate change, and more.

The event also featured talks by conservation champions, including Megan Jennings, Barbara Kus, and Marco Amador, local experts that contextualized the Summit for our region. The event’s keynote featured Brian O'Donnell, global conservation leader and director of Campaign for Nature, which backs a global initiative targeting the protection of at least 30% of terrestrial and marine areas by 2030. 

Seeing what is happening in San Diego County gives me hope for what is possible when all of these various entities come together and make biodiversity conservation a priority and work cooperatively,” said O’Donnell. 

The conversations at the Summit will be compiled into a report that will be shared for public comment later this spring—including at the State of Biodiversity Symposium at The Nat on April 18. This community-driven report will help guide efforts to address our region’s most urgent conservation needs. It will contain information about the region’s biggest biodiversity threats, our collective opportunities, and recommendations. The initiative can serve as a model for other cities and set an example of an inclusive, science-led process. 

Posted by Science Communications Manager Paula Sternberg Rodríguez on March 6, 2024

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