Islands 2030 is a major new Academy initiative that aims to halt biodiversity loss and habitat degradation on five key tropical island archipelagos by 2030 while empowering and benefiting local communities.

Islands are sentinels of change, representing an urgent call to action for the future of the planet. Islands 2030 will focus on five diverse tropical archipelagos—the Galápagos, Lesser Antilles, Madagascar, Philippines, and Gulf of Guinea islands—that share a legacy of colonialism and prolonged resource extraction and are threatened by invasive species, climate change, and sea level rise.

Through three critical pathways—biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement—we will equip island communities with the tools, data, and resources needed to build green economies and boost biodiversity and ultimately create a blueprint for regenerating vital, vulnerable ecosystems all over the world.

A woman puts a pile of edible insects on a plate in Madagascar

Regeneration in action

At the Madagascar Biodiversity Center, Academy scientists are working with local communities to scale sustainable insect farming. This project bolsters food and economic security for women and children, protects endangered lemurs and their forest habitat, and reduces transmission risks of diseases from animal to human populations. Journey to Madagascar and tour the facility via bioGraphic magazine.

Photo: Brian Fisher © California Academy of Sciences

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Lemur with black and white fur and orange eyes

Biodiversity science

75 percent of all recent extinctions—birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals combined—have occurred on islands. To protect against future losses, multidisciplinary teams will conduct comprehensive plant and animal health surveys on each archipelago, assigning ecosystems with a “resilience rating” that will help prioritize conservation projects. The Academy’s Center for Comparative Genomics will analyze genomic data, producing insights about the islands’ histories that will inform regeneration strategies in the future.

Photo: Brian Fisher © California Academy of Sciences

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A boy in a school classroom in São Tomé studies local animals

Environmental learning

We believe that nurturing current and future leaders from the islands will result in better protection for the islands. Academy scientists will train and mentor postgraduate students from each archipelago, forming a global network of scientific experts, while a new international Youth Leadership Corps, modeled on our Careers in Science program, will create a pipeline of young biodiversity advocates. Academy educators will also work with their island counterparts to engage communities in place-based learning and environmental stewardship.

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Young women in Madagascar use a fishing net

Collaborative engagement

Academy scientists will train local experts and business leaders in creating economic and environmental plans that support biodiversity and potentially unlock access to international development funds, while biologists from the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium will connect island partners with international zoo and aquarium associations to help each island meet its species conservation goals. To build and foster ecological literacy, we will partner with community centers to produce pop-up exhibits celebrating biodiversity and conservation solutions for these critical regions.

Photo: Brian Fisher © California Academy of Sciences

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Our major initiatives
The Academy's mission is to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Explore the initiatives that will help us achieve it.