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...
South Caucasus Eco-Region

South Caucasus Eco-Region

Case Study by: Magnus Sylven The South Caucasus region of Southwest Asia is a superb example of planning for Nature Needs Half in an ecosystem of great natural beauty, critical biodiversity importance, and long established human settlements.  Officials are aiming for  43% of their territory to be managed with biodiversity as the primary objective .  An important, life-sustaining target has been established! This region is located between Russia, Turkey and Iran, and between the Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east. It is ranked among the planet’s 34 most diverse and endangered hotspots by Conservation International and is one of WWF’s Global 200 Ecoregions, identified as globally outstanding for biodiversity.  The 2010 IUCN Red List identifies around 50 species of globally threatened animals in the Caucasus. The Caucasus Mountains harbour a wealth of highly sought-after medicinal and decorative plants, as well as unique relic and endemic plant communities. In 2006, an “Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus” (ECPC) was launched. Through its unique coverage of the Caucasus region and its participatory development approach, involving more than 150 experts from all six Caucasus countries as well as abroad, it has ever since served as the main blueprint for the conservation of the unique ecosystems, fauna and flora of the Caucasus. The work was coordinated by WWF in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW – the German Development Bank, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and the MacArthur Foundation. In addition to targets and actions set for the main biomes and cross-cutting issues, Priority Conservation Areas and Corridors were identified...
Plan Nord

Plan Nord

In August of 2011, the Quebec government said it plans “to dedicate 50% of the territory of the Plan Nord to protecting the environment, safeguarding biodiversity and developing the natural heritage, as well as to various types of development that do not rely on industrial activities.” And, they committed to a public comment period to get feedback. In case you’re unfamiliar with northern Quebec….that’s A LOT OF LAND!  Here’s a map of what that looks like: A few quick facts about Quebec’s North * Located above the 49th parallel, the total area of the Plan Nord is 1,200,000 sq km, which represents 72% of the province; * 26% of the land is already in dedicated to industry, forestry, mining exploration and energy, mainly hydro-electric; * 9.15 % of the north is already protected through various designations; * 4 aboriginal nations live there: the Crees, the Inuit, the Naskapi and the Innu; * The north is entirely covered in Boreal Zone, which includes the forest blanket, the Taiga and the Tundra areas; * Quebec Boreal forest blanket represents a quarter of Canada’s remaining boreal ecosystem and covers half a million km2; * The Boreal Zone are globally important because of their unique ecosystem traits and their role in storing carbon; and, * Areas North of the 49th parallel have world-class tourism potential for development. The Plan Nord is also, a sustainable development plan, as the Quebec government is not only committed to protect 50% of the land; it is also working on finding a balance with economic development base on natural resource exploitation. At the moment: * Nearly 160,000 mineral...
Protection of the Seas and Oceans

Protection of the Seas and Oceans

Nature Needs Half is as much about waters and oceans as it is about land. Mounting issues and challenges with the earth’s marine areas and resources make it ever more important that we have the right vision and call for action that is achievable, and with standards that foster true ecosystem resilience. This is confirmed by many authoritative studies, and recently the International Programme on the State of the Oceans (IPSO) issued a report that clarified in no uncertain terms that multiple stresses on marine environments are converging, and action is needed. Protection of seascapes and critical marine areas has always lagged considerably behind terrestrial conservation efforts. A major reason is that most of the oceans are beyond any country’s jurisdiction and have traditionally formed part of the global commons – no one owns them. Their issues are harder to grasp, too, simply because they are remote, with relatively little human interaction. As a result, it is difficult to reverse the persistent perception that oceans are an infinite resource. Research is also vastly more expensive in marine environments than on land, which complicates the process of acquiring the data necessary for decision making. It is clear, though, that providing strong protections for marine environments is effective. Creating a marine reserve, in essence a “no-take” zone in most countries, provides immediate benefits by protecting habitat, while also allowing fisheries to rebuild, often quite rapidly. Marine reserves consistently have higher diversity, more individuals within species as well as larger individuals than areas outside the reserve, and they can also have a beneficial spillover effect, increasing fish stocks at the margins of...
Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Nature Needs Half™ in Boulder. With 68 percent of its land protected, Boulder County is the epitome of a Nature Needs Half™ town. But what does that mean for the people and wildlife that live there? It means coexisting with 500 species of animals and a cornucopia of environments. Picture open prairies, deep forests, snow-capped mountains and roughly 230 miles of trails. It means being able to walk out your door and up to a stand of trees that has survived since the last ice age, or catching a glimpse of a rare butterfly whose life depends on a single type of flower. More than that, Nature Needs Half™ is in the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. It’s what makes Boulder the kind of place where you want to live, whether you’re a marathoner, a mother of four, or a burrowing owl nesting down in that perfect prairie dog hole. After you watch Boulder’s story, think about what Nature Needs Half™ could mean for your town. A Conservation Legacy With more protected open space than developed land, Boulder boasts more than 230 miles of recreational trails, challenging climbs to 14,000-foot summits, and the opportunity to witness rare orchids and other charismatic wildlife. But when you hike to your favorite lookout and soak in that stunning view, do you ever stop to wonder how we came to have so much? Ruth Wright, a pioneer and lifelong advocate for Boulder nature, shares her story of the progressive thinking and innovations that led to a county that’s 68 percent wild, and discusses what’s still at stake....
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