Lake Sentarum, West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

What is Science for Nature and People?

SNAP answers critical questions at the intersection of nature conservation, economic development and human well-being.

Photo: CIFOR | More Info
Samburu Women at the Namunyak Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, Kenya. The Northern Rangelands Trust facilitates the development of community-led conservation initiatives in northern Kenya. It promotes collective management of ecosystems in order to improve human livelihoods, bioiversity conservation and rangeland management. The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels.
Photo: Suzi Eszterhas


SNAP: Because Everyone’s Prosperity Relies on Nature

How can protecting nature help secure food, energy and water — and enhance the quality of life — for 10 billion people? Science for Nature and People (SNAP) — a new scientific collaboration among The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) — is taking on this key question for the planet. We intend to uncover approaches that will benefit humankind, especially the planet’s poorest and most marginalized citizens.

Understand our Vision

TNC Biologist, Mike Beck, performs rockfish survey in upper canopy of giant kelp forest off the coast of Monterey. The Nature Conservancy in conjuntion with UC Santa Cruz studied the effects of canopy loss on kelp communities and took land-based conservation strategies to sea to protect the giant kelp and the forest ecosystems. TNC also worked with abalone farmers to harvest kelp sustainably and  created Marine Protected Areas to protect the kelp.
Photo: Richard Herrmann

Our Vision

A Quick, Clear Pathway to Impact

SNAP is structured to deliver rapid results that will make a real-world difference:

  • We gather specialists from a broad range of specialties — ecology to engineering, hydrology to human well-being — to collaborate and produce knowledge that is science-based and practical, on big-picture inquiries such as where natural habitats can defend coastal communities from the effects of storms.
  • Our working groups include not just scientists but policymakers, funders and field practitioners — to ensure that our findings are of maximum utility.
  • And we’ll include from the start key institutions ready to use the knowledge we produce.

That’s why SNAP’s findings will lead to better policies, more effective field practices, and durable economies that value nature’s services and secure the livelihoods of families at risk.

Review our Founding Inquiries

Hurricane Sandy 2012.

Founding Inquiries

‘Wicked’ Problems at the Nexus of Nature & Human Well-Being

SNAP’s Working Groups are already tackling high-profile problems whose solutions could have maximum benefit for nature and human well-being and where the sought-after solution has a clear pathway to implementation. Calls for additional Working Group proposals directed toward addressing other major questions at the trade-off frontier of nature conservation, economic development, and human well-being are made annually.

SNAP is currently accepting proposals for New Working Groups until 18 May 2015.  

Here are some of the SNAP projects now underway:

Coastal Defenses: Using Nature to Protect Our Shorelines from Hazards

Evidence is growing that natural systems can play critical roles in buffering people against the impacts of coastal storms. This Working Group will explore how conserving existing coastal habitats and restoring what has been lost can help reduce risk for coastal communities and livelihoods from  storms and other extreme environmental events.

Western Amazonia: Balancing Infrastructure Development and Conservation of Waters, Wetlands and Fisheries

The Amazon Basin is the largest river system in the world. The Western Amazon contains the largest areas of flooded forests and wetlands in the basin — areas critical to food provision and drinking water for tens of millions of people as well as to a fisheries industry. How might the basin’s ecosystem health, local food security, and local economies be balanced with the large-scale infrastructure development (hydroelectric dams, roads, and pipelines) needed to support the growing urban populations?

Water Security

Nearly one out of every three people on Earth regularly have trouble finding the water they need to survive — a problem that will only get worse as cities grow and the climate warms. Water funds and other investments to protect upstream watersheds and water sources may be part of the solution, but only if made wisely. The Working Group on Water Security will develop the methodologies to guide these investments in nature and maximize the returns.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Shale energy development — made possible by the new technologies of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing — is helping meet increasing global demand for energy and providing economic benefits. But hydraulic fracturing also uses large quantities of water and produces toxic chemicals. Can better science help predict and avoid conflicts between shale energy development and the need for clean safe waters for people and natural systems?

Learn more about all of SNAP’s Working Groups.

See the Partners and Funders

Photo: Charlie Walker | More Info
Beautiful sunset over the Amazon river.

Partners and Funders

Scientific Heft and Worldwide Reach

Our Keystone Partners

SNAP’s member organizations have thousands of staff members in more than 65 countries, providing the capacity to actively test strategies that conserve nature and benefit people. And these organizations have a proven track record of assembling multidisciplinary teams to find answers to the world’s most pressing challenges.

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy works in more than 30 countries, including all 50 states of the United States. The Conservancy has over one million members, and has protected more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide. The Nature Conservancy also operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally.
Learn more about The Nature Conservancy


Established in 1995, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) is a research center of the University of California, Santa Barbara and was the first national synthesis center of its kind. NCEAS fosters collaborative synthesis research – assembling interdisciplinary teams to distill existing data, ideas, theories, or methods drawn from many sources, across multiple fields of inquiry, to accelerate the generation of new scientific knowledge at a broad scale.
Learn more about NCEAS

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society, founded in 1895, has the clear mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe. Our story began in the early 1900’s when we successfully helped the American bison recover on the Western Plains. Today, we protect many of the world’s iconic creatures here and abroad, including gorillas in the Congo, tigers in India, wolverines in the Yellowstone Rockies, and ocean giants in our world’s amazing seascapes.
Learn more about the Wildlife Conservation Society

Our Generous Supporters

SNAP has been generously supported by Shirley and Harry Hagey, Steve and Roberta Denning, Angela Nomellini and Ken Olivier, Seth Neiman, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Hungry for more? Visit SNAP Magazine!

Photo: Pedro Szekely | More Info