Globalization, or global integration, with its profound impact on the environment, is a growing concern for the conservation community. While international trade and investment present major challenges, globalization also includes social, cultural, linguistic, political, technical and environmental integration, each with its own set of problems and opportunities. It is clear that emerging global challenges such as climate change and the spread of invasive species require a global response.

It's not all bad. Globalization can create new opportunities for environmental stewardship such as international payments for ecosystem services while the rapid spread of information and communication technology is enhancing environmental awareness and advocacy.

This issue of World Conservation explores what the environmental community can do to ensure globalization follows a greener path. We hear academic and NGO perspectives on sustainable food production, invasive species and wildlife trade, from UNEP's Deputy Executive Director on the need to strengthen global environmental governance, and from the head of the World Tourism Organization on balancing tourism growth with biodiversity conservation.