Welcome to Nature Needs Half™

Welcome to Nature Needs Half™

“Nature Needs Half applies to the waters of the world as well as the land, from the tops of mountains to the greatest depths of the sea. More than half of the world is ocean, the blue heart of the planet. You decide: How much of your heart do you need to stay alive?” -Sylvia Earle, 2011 “Half the world for humanity, half for the rest of life, to make a planet both self-sustaining and pleasant.” -E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life, 2002 Protecting and interconnecting at least half of the planet, land and water, to support all life on earth is no small vision. Multimedia photojournalist Morgan Heim dives into what this bold, new conservation vision means with an inspiring combination of stunning photographs and powerful...
Mloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site

Mloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site

    By: Sonja Krueger, Guest Editor Introduction The Maloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site (MDP WHS) is situated in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of the Republic of South Africa and is part of the Drakensberg – an inland mountain range in south-eastern Africa (Figure 1). The Park is a national and international asset due to its unique natural and cultural values, and as such it has been listed as a World Heritage Site of dual significance, one of only 28 properties to be listed as such. It is dominated by a mountain range of unique origins, and has a diverse range of ecological niches resulting in a rich biodiversity and a high number of endemic species.  In addition, it is home to thousands of rock art paintings, a product of the San’s long historical relationship with this mountain environment. The Drakensberg catchment area is of major economic importance as it contributes significantly to the flow of the uThukela, uMkhomazi and uMzimkhulu Rivers, the three largest catchments in KwaZulu-Natal. It plays a key role in the economy of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa, through the production of high quality water from its dense network of wetlands and rivers (hence its designation as a Ramsar Site in 1996), the sustainable use of natural resources, and by serving as a core destination for the tourism industry. The Park forms a key component of the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (MDTP), which has been initiated as a collaborative programme between the governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa.  As part of achieving the transfrontier vision of the MDTP the Park...
Biodiverse Urban Habitats in Ioannina, Greece

Biodiverse Urban Habitats in Ioannina, Greece

By: Austin Perez One of Greece’s largest cities has proven to be an unexpected biodiversity hotspot supporting an urban habitat for a diverse array of vegetative species. Ioannina is a city in the northwestern region of Greece with a population of over 112,000 people, and is full of centuries worth of history and culture. But researchers have recently discovered that Ioannina is also a biodiversity hotspot and provides a fruitful habitat for a wide diversity of plant species. A recent study has discovered that Ioannina has 11 different habitat types supporting 379 plant species, 27 of which are of conservation interest. Over half (68%) of all of the plant species and subspecies studied were found to be existing in anthropogenic habitats, which were either designed or altered by human activity. This case study presented by Ioannina exemplifies that the anthropogenic habitats of European cities can function as important areas for biodiversity. The existence of biodiverse habitats in city areas demonstrates the importance of promoting urban planning policies that incorporate a focus on nature conservation. This is a key strategy of the WILD Cities Project, which is striving to support the existence and productivity of wild nature in urban areas all over the world in congruence with the Nature Needs Half vision. >> Read more here: Urban habitats as a refuge for biodiversity: A case study in Greece © Aimilios Petrou Source: Kantsa, A., Tscheulin, T., Junker, R.R. et al. (2013). “Urban biodiversity hotspots wait to get discovered: The example of the city of Ioannina, NW Greece”. Landscape and Urban Planning. 120: 129 137. DOI:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.08.013.    ...
Zurich Airport – Flughafen Zürich AG

Zurich Airport – Flughafen Zürich AG

Case Study by: Austin Perez  A modern airport is not the sort of place where one would typically expect to find a large tract of protected wild nature. But, the Zurich Airport, Flughafen Zürich AG, has demonstrated an extraordinary devotion to protecting the region’s wild nature by designating a large amount of the airport’s property as nature conservation areas. The Zurich Airport maintains over half of its site as nature conservation areas, and thereby protects some of the region’s beautiful ecosystems and several species of Switzerland’s unique flora and fauna. Flughafen Zürich AG is located just 13 kilometers north of Zurich’s city center, and it is Switzerland’s largest international airport. Although the Zurich Airport is a bustling transportation center, more than half of the airport’s site is undeveloped and not utilized for aviation. Zurich Airport covers an area of approximately 880 hectares, of which 780 hectares are fenced off and not open to the public. Approximately half of the airport’s total land area has been maintained as conservation areas or undeveloped green spaces that feature an assortment of ecologically valuable natural landscapes of reed meadows, mire woodlands, and marshlands.   © Zurich Airport The 74 hectare nature conservation area “Klotener Riet”, which is located between two of the airport’s runways, consists of a very unique ecosystem of national importance. Together with the other nature conservation areas adjacent to the airport, “Altläufe der Glatt”, “Bachenbülacher Allmend”, “Rütner Allmend” and “Goldentor”, these protected areas constitute some of the only remaining mire landscapes in this region of Europe. By supporting ecosystem connectivity and protecting these extremely unique and ecologically valuable marshland forest...
Island Nations of the South Pacific

Island Nations of the South Pacific

Case Study by: Austin Perez     Some of the world’s smallest nations have collaborated in developing an extraordinary ocean conservation policy that has led to the establishment of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) ever created. The Pacific Oceanscape was an agreement endorsed by 15 Pacific island nations in 2009 that established a commitment towards aiming to protect 40 million square kilometers of the ocean ecosystems of the South Pacific. The tiny country of Kiribati was the first island nation to make a major addition to the Pacific Oceanscape by establishing the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in 2008, which protects about 400,000 km2 of the southern Pacific Ocean. In 2011, The Cook Islands followed suit by announcing that it will protect nearly 1.1 million km2 of its marine ecosystem by establishing a protected national marine park; and in 2012, New Caledonia proclaimed that it has created the largest Marine Protected Area in the world by establishing a protected area that will cover approximately 1.4 million km2. The Pacific Oceanscape agreement set forth an extremely ambitious goal to protect approximately 10% of the world’s ocean area, and Kiribati, the Cook Islands, and New Caledonia have become leaders in turning the vision of the Pacific Oceanscape into a reality. By endorsing the goals and vision of the Pacific Oceanscape, the island nations of the South Pacific have demonstrated a spectacular commitment to marine conservation and to the establishment of conservation policies that will help defend the incredible reef ecosystems and marine biodiversity of the southern Pacific Ocean. By establishing the world’s largest region of Marine Protected Areas and striving to...

Tasmania

Case Study by: Austin Perez   Australia’s island state of Tasmania has established an extensive network of national parks and reserves to protect its distinct natural landscape and biodiversity. Its geographical isolation for long periods of geological time has allowed for the evolution of some of the world’s most unique flora and fauna. The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and The Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and Environment report that the total amount of reserved area in Tasmania is 3,064,500 hectares, which is 45% of the state’s total terrestrial area. Of this, 45% of Tasmania’s forests are also protected within its reserve system. Approximately 1.4 million hectares of this protected area makes up the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Area established in 1982 and extended in 1989. In addition, Tasmania has also protected 7.7% of its state coastal waters by establishing 135,000 hectares of Marine Protected Areas. This commitment to protecting its wild nature by establishing a network of reverses that protects 45% of its land area makes Tasmania an excellent representation of Nature Needs Half. Tasmania protected areas map © Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service The discovery of valuable minerals on Tasmania in the late 1800s and the development of hydroelectric energy in the early twentieth century posed a serious threat to Tasmania’s natural environment. The mining boom and industrial development led to heavy exploitation of Tasmania’s natural resources, including a significant depletion of its forests for timber resources. Then, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the proposed flooding of Lake Pedder for the construction of a hydroelectric dam project sparked...
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