Life on Land

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework to turn global ambitions into local action. Florida International University is ranked No. 12 in the world and No. 3 in the United States for positive impact on Life on Land according to the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Our faculty, students and staff are addressing the environmental and economic realities of climate change, protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystems, and working on the frontlines of conservation across the world’s biodiversity hotspots to save plant and animal species from extinction. 



15 Life On Land

"It doesn't fall to somebody else. It's not another person's duty. It's not another generation's responsibility. It's ours." 


Dr. Paul Reillo
Director of the FIU Tropical Conservation Institute and Founding Director of the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

Our Impact

As the State of Florida’s University of Distinction in Environmental Resilience, FIU is providing the science for a healthier and more sustainable planet. In the Next Horizon 2025 Strategic Plan, we have furthered our commitment to sound strategies including green building, water conservation and waste minimization to reduce our ecological footprint. We are working in our communities to collectively address the greatest challenges of today. And we are conducting research and implementing programs all across the world to help ensure a sustainable future for Life On Land.

  • In the World 

    From the Arctic to the Tropics, FIU scientists are conducting environmental research all across the world, collaborating with partners locally and internationally to advance science that will keep our forests, wetlands, other natural ecosystems, plants and animals healthy. Find out more about our research in the world


  • In the Community

    Our goal is to inspire the next generation and immerse the greater South Florida community in the solutions-based work at FIU to conserve and promote sustainable use of our natural ecosystems. Find out more about our engagement in the community.


  • On Campus

    As a university community, we apply best practices to protect and preserve our natural ecosystems, plants and animals. Find out more about our on campus efforts.


Life on Land

FIU is working across all targets set by the United Nations General Assembly in Sustainable Development Goal 15 to achieve a sustainable future for the world’s forests, wetlands and other natural ecosystems.

FIU scientists in the field

15.1 Conserve and restore

From the Arctic to the Tropics, FIU is providing scientific solutions to the devastating and complex challenges of natural disasters, climate change, wildlife trafficking, species extinction and other man-made impacts. Find out more on FIU’s efforts to conserve and restore Life on Land.

Liu and researchers in the forest

15.2 Manage and protect forests

Through conservation, community forest management, species research and new species discoveries, FIU is promoting the sustainable management of forests all across the world. Find out more on FIU's efforts to manage and protect forests.

DeVito in the field

15.3 Restore land and soil 

Located in Miami, where the land is subsiding and the seas are rising, FIU is not just researching land degradation. We are living it. Our scientists are focused on developing solutions for environmental resilience here and all across the planet. Find out more on FIU's efforts to restore land and soil.

Catenazzi researching in the mountains

15.4 Conserve mountain ecosytems

From high atop the Andes to the mountainous regions of China, FIU researchers work in the toughest of terrains, discovering new species and protecting the plants and animals that give life to these biodiversity hotspots. Find out more on FIU's efforts to conserve mountain ecosystems.

Paul Reillo with Bongo

15.5 Reducing degradation of natural habitats

From in-the-field conservation to innovative captive breeding programs,, FIU scientists are leading global initiatives to save species, establish protected habitats and provide the science needed to reverse the degradation of natural habitats on every single continent. Find out more on FIU's efforts to reduce degradation of natural habitats.

Matt Shirley

15.6 Promote access to genetic resources

FIU researchers are rapidly adding to global knowledge about the world’s plants, animals and ecosystems they occupy, including scientific understanding of species, identification of previously unknown species, disturbances and threats, conservation opportunities, and genetic innovations that could lead to a more sustainable future. Find out more on FIU's efforts to promote access to genetic resources. 


15.7 End poaching and trafficking

FIU leads international campaigns in the fight against illegal trafficking of wild orchids, sharks, turtles, tropical birds and even pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammal. The innovations in DNA science and technology being developed here can be used to protect species anywhere. Find out more on FIU's efforts to end poaching and trafficking.

Invasive species

15.8 Prevent invasive species

From the Florida Everglades to the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, FIU scientists are providing the science to improve wildlife management strategies, trafficking interventions and other tactics to combat existing and prevent new introductions of invasive species to ecosystems. Find out more on FIU's efforts to prevent invasive species. 

15.9 Integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values

FIU researchers are developing assessment frameworks for determining inclusion of biodiversity in Strategic Environmental Assessments, identifying new methods for cross-collaborations in research and providing the scientific data needed to evaluate ecosystem and biodiversity values. Find out more on FIU's efforts to integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values.

15.a-c Mobilize resources

Providing the science, tools and training needed for Life on Land, FIU researchers are developing low-cost solutions and expertise needed to conserve biodiversity, sustainably manage ecosystems and combat illegal wildlife trafficking of species of all kinds. Find out more on FIU's efforts to mobilize resources.