Biodiversity Conservation

The Environmental Law Institute’s Biodiversity Program improves environmental protection by identifying best practices and new models for federal, state and local actions to conserve biodiversity. We forge new links between land use decision-making processes and biodiversity science. We promote public and private stewardship by providing technical assistance and identifying conservation incentives.

ELI advances the adoption of policy tools that sustain living landscapes. We identify and assist state and local leaders committed to achieving results. The Biodiversity Program has two areas of concentration:

  • State and Federal Biodiversity Projects: ELI works with state and federal partners to formulate and implement statewide strategies that conserve natural communities and restore biological health to the landscape. ELI provides technical assistance to states and to conservation organizations seeking to re-align state laws and policies with conservation goals, including
    • land use planning enabling laws
    • wildlife action plans and implementation strategies
    • taxation and economic developmentprograms
    • infrastructure programs
    • open space programs
    • threatened and endangered species programs
  • Naturally Green Planning: ELI links the findings of conservation biology with the needs of the land use planning community and elected officials. Land use planners and local elected officials influence the types, extent, and arrangement of land use, which can have a profound influence on the viability of biodiversity far beyond municipal boundaries. Conservation planning is the development of biologically defensible plans that maintain natural habitat in the amount, pattern, and quality safely above the threshold at which native species begin to decline precipitously.
  • Strengthening Biodiversity Management to Adapt to Climate Change: In partnership with experts around the world, ELI is working to strengthen laws governing biodiversity management to adapt to climate change. This project considers how laws can respond to climate-driven changes to species ranges, endangered species relocation, and issues that intersect with invasive species management.

ELI’s work to advance biodiversity conservation is also linked with ELI’s Wetlands Program.