"You are capable of more than you know."

– E.O. Wilson

“This is the most communal endeavor that humanity has ever had.”

-E.O. Wilson

One million species could be extinct by the end of the century. 

E.O. Wilson knew that we can only overcome this crisis with an ambitious goal that inspires a global movement.

His legacy in conservation science and his passion for biodiversity laid the foundation for the Half-Earth Project and its collaborative action on behalf of all species. Dr. Wilson’s Half-Earth vision is the culmination of a lifetime of discovery—and a guiding light for our future.

Who was
E.O. Wilson?

Young EO Wilson in scout uniform
Young EO Wilson looking in net at specimen

E. O. Wilson loved watching animals and birds in the wilds of rural Alabama. But when a fishing accident blinded his right eye, he turned his gaze closer. A microscope was the perfect tool to spark a lifelong passion for insects.

In Dr. Wilson’s early research, species diversity among ant colonies on tropical islands shifted his perspective again. With Dr. Robert H. MacArthur conceived a mathematical formula for the natural equilibrium of an ecosystem. They published The Theory of Island Biogeography in 1967, and it remains a cornerstone of conservation.

Dr. Wilson integrated scientific disciplines to create new fields. As a pioneer of chemical ecology, he translated the pheromone language that builds ant societies. His book Sociobiology transformed scientific understanding of animal behavior.

“I am here to help speak for the little things that run the world.”

-E.O. Wilson

Dr. Wilson became an advocate for all species, particularly invertebrates, as essential to the health of the planet and people.

He called for a “Linnean Renaissance” in taxonomy—a fresh perspective to discover and identify all of the organisms nature needs to function.

The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation was established in 2005 to honor E.O. Wilson for his lifetime of pioneering scientific work in biology, ability to convene and find common ground among scientists and conservation communities, and for his eloquent, award-winning writing on the subject of biodiversity.

At biodiversity hotspot Gorongosa Park in Mozambique, Dr. Wilson established a laboratory that pursues this comprehensive exploration. Research in Gorongosa is a model for revealing the richness of a healthy ecosystem, and the particular importance of invertebrates. Education and training are also a central focus at the lab, to connect a new generation with conservation.

The Moonshot

In 2017, Dr. Wilson issued a bold call: Humanity must devote half of the Earth’s surface to nature. Two years later, the UN would warn against a global extinction crisis. Dr. Wilson’s book Half-Earth: Our Planet offered a solution to meet the magnitude of the problem.

Dr. Wilson’s vision is grounded in science, and he created the Half-Earth Project to carry forward its promise. The Half-Earth Project Map supports biodiversity research and tracks species at high resolution to reveal where conservation can have the greatest impact.

When the world’s nations ratified the 2022 Global Biodiversity Framework, Half-Earth principles informed three key indicators.

Through the Half-Earth Project, we carry forward Dr. Wilson’s legacy. His passion for discovery—and his advocacy on behalf of all species—will last long beyond his lifetime.

“To strive against all odds on behalf of nature, would be man at its most noble.”

-E.O. Wilson

E.O. Wilson’s last lecture called for the discovery of the rest of Earth’s 8 million unknown species, and for a continuation of exploration and scientific research of species and ecosystems. The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation is committed to carrying out the mission of reimagining the way conservation is done. 

Learn More About E.O. Wilson's Legacy

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