Seychelles

Seychelles

Case Study by: Austin Perez The Republic of Seychelles is a small island nation consisting of an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. The natural environment of Seychelles is a stunningly beautiful topical paradise, with crystal clear blue water and pristine white sand beaches. The economy of Seychelles is largely dependent on preserving a healthy natural environment for tourism purposes and to maintain sustainable fisheries, and the Seychellois people are deeply interconnected with the wild nature of the island ecosystems in their every day lives. The Seychelles government has therefore taken significant action to establish a nation that is committed to preserving and protecting its natural environment by enacting policies that protect more than half of the nation’s total terrestrial land area and 30% of its marine territory by law. The government of Seychelles has demonstrated its dedication to conserving and protecting its natural environment by enacting laws and policies that work to ensure the long-term vitality and preservation of its wild nature. The Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles, which was enacted in 1993, guarantees its citizens the right to a clean environment, and at the same time also obliges its citizens to work to protect the Seychelles’ natural environment. Article 38 of the Constitution of Seychelles states that it is “the right of every person to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy, and ecologically balanced environment,” and that that the state undertakes the responsibility of taking measures to protect, preserve, and improve the environment and to ensure the judicious and sustainable usage and management of Seychelles’ natural resources....
Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Case Study by: Austin Perez When most people think of Hong Kong, they likely often picture an image of a gorgeous skyline and the busy streets of a thriving metropolis. With a population of over 7 million people in an area of only about 1,000 km2, Hong Kong is certainly a bustling modern city with a dense population, a flourishing economy, and some of the world’s most impressive infrastructure. However, despite its dense population and pressure to develop its available lands for continued economic growth, Hong Kong has made a tremendous commitment to preserve wild nature in the region and thereby establish one of the most expansive urban wildlife conservation policies in the world. Hong Kong Cityscape at night Beyond the skyscrapers of the city center, Hong Kong has a vibrant and beautiful natural environment that is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, and its government has placed a major emphasis on ensuring the preservation of Hong Kong’s “urban wilderness.”  In total, Hong Kong has designated about 41% of its land area and about 1.5% of its marine environment as protected areas, which makes Hong Kong an excellent example of how the vision of Nature Needs Half can be applied in the urban environment of a large modern city. Following the wartime period in the 1940’s, Hong Kong’s environment was largely decimated and the region was almost completely deforested due to a demand for timber during the war. In addition, the rapid population growth, urban encroachment, and unplanned recreation use in the region in the middle of the 20th century further deteriorated Hong Kong’s natural environment. However, the...
Namibia

Namibia

Case Study by: Kelly Dusenbery Namibia’s system of protected/conservation priority areas with numerous types of ownership and management, and the ecological connectivity within this system, is one of the most impressive examples in the world of the Nature Needs Half vision. With the recent declaration of Dorob National Park in 2010, Namibia became the first and only country in the world to have its entire coastline under protection via a network of four National Parks.  The 1,500km long coastline now contributes to an impressive protected area network totaling about 42% of Namibia’s total land mass, not to mention a newly declared Marine Protected Area (MPA) accounting for an additional 12,000 km2. Namibia is a world leader in conservation through a determined and conscious effort to address development issues through nature conservation. This human/social aspect of Nature Needs Half is as important as is the protection of ecosystem services.  The country has emphasized the need for policies that support and maintain ecosystems, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity within their own constitution, and also recognizes the important connection between conservation and the livelihood of its citizens.  Their vision, as stated in the fourth National Report on the Convention on Biological Diversity, is to create a protected area network under different ownership and uses through collaborative and international management.  Namibia is well underway towards achieving this goal. Although 42% of Namibia’s total land mass is under some form of protection, the type of protection is varied.   While 17% of the protected area network is under state protection, an additional 18% are registered communal conservancies.  Communal conservancies are areas of land in which the...
Botswana

Botswana

Case Study by: Ceeanna Zulla Imagine an area in Africa that has never been forcibly colonized; an area home to the most mysterious combination of habitats—desert, in-land river delta, forests. With 45% of its land protected, Botswana represents what Nature Needs Half is all about. According to the 4th World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas definition, 45% of Botswana’s land is protected. In Botswana, to be considered a protected area it must fall under the category of “an area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.” Botswana’s protected land is divided between eight categories: National Parks, Game Reserves, Private Wildlife and Nature Reserves, Wildlife Management Areas, Forest Reserves, National Monuments, World Heritage Sites, and Ramsar Sites. Within these territories, controlled hunting is only authorized in Wildlife Management Areas (which also holds the biggest percentage of total land area; 24%). National Parks only hold 8% of total land area throughout the state. This protected land includes notable biodiversity located through the eastern part of the country to the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans and the Chobe National Park. Most of the areas are largely diverse with plant, mammal and fish species but the Kalahari Xeric ecoregion is among the poorest nutrient areas in South Africa. 18% of this Savannah is protected but where the Kalahari Xeric is not protected, heavy grazing has negatively impacted the habitat. Although it has tremendously poor plant species, the Kalahari has a diverse group of large mammals such as the gemsbok, the...
Bhutan

Bhutan

Gross National Happiness includes protected areas. Bhutan has taken a highly proactive approach to maintaining the integrity of its ecosystems and biodiversity by developing a large protected areas system interconnected via biological corridors. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Nature Conservation Division reports that in 2009 Bhutan had 10 protected areas totaling 16,396.43 km2 representing 42.71% of the country’s surface area, combined with 3,307.14 km2 in biological corridors linking the protected areas and representing 8.61% of the country’s surface area. Thus, Bhutan currently has 51.32% of its area under protection, as announced by the Director of the Department of Forest in November 2009. The protected areas and corridors are managed via a landscape conservation strategy called the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex or “B2C2”. In the forward of the strategy, Secretary Sangay thinly states: “Key characteristics of the programme include: focus on biodiversity conservation in protected areas; biological corridors and conservation areas; commitment to positive human-nature interactions; promotion of public environmental education; encourage partnerships in conservation programmes to address a wider range of issues; and optimizing the use of limited resources.” (download the full strategy, 2.5MB) In addition Bhutan has a number of small Conservation Areas (some of which are privately managed) totaling less than 1% of its surface area. These are not officially part of Bhutan’s protected areas network, but nonetheless play an important role in species and biodiversity conservation efforts in the country. Finally, Bhutan has also committed to maintaining 60% of its forest cover at all times and has engaged in extensive reforestation projects. Bhutan’s Biodiversity Action Plan states that Bhutan considers conservation to be one of...
Costa Rica

Costa Rica

As of 2009 Costa Rica had 169 protected areas covering 26.2% of its terrestrial area and .9% of its marine area. 13.75% of this total is in strictly protected areas, with the balance allowing some degree of resource extraction. In 1995 Costa Rica initiated a planning process (GRUAS – Propuesta de ordenamiento territorial para la conservacion de la biodiversidad) to assess where added conservation measures would be needed to ensure that 90% of Costa Rica’s biodiversity would be protected. A second phase of this process (GRUAS II) was completed in 2007. GRUAS II produced the following findings: • 5.93% of Costa Rica’s territory is held in private areas that are not permanently protected, but are under short-term (i.e. less than 10 year) contracts for payments for ecosystem services. These contracts might not be renewed after they expire, and therefore these areas would not qualify as protected areas under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s protected areas definition. On the other hand these areas also have potential for long term conservation. • 36 biological corridors have been identified to provide connectivity between protected areas. • Priority areas necessary to complete the ecological integrity of their protected areas system, would add an additional 5.54% of the country to the protected areas system. • A public consultation system identified an additional 7.2% of the country’s territory as priorities for regional conservation (with some overlaps with the 5.54% identified above). Thus, gaps remain to achieve the 90% target terrestrially marine protected area coverage lags behind terrestrial conservation efforts. However, Costa Rica has undertaken a comprehensive planning process to ensure a representative...
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