An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm

An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm

A new study published in BioScience today examines a bold new approach to halting the world’s extinction crisis through a strategy to protect 50% of the Earth’s land mass. Many vertebrate species have vanished over the past 5 decades or have become critically endangered and the rate of extinction is accelerating. If habitat conversion continues unabated, key ecosystems could collapse, disrupting the biosphere upon which we all—humans and wildlife—depend. Abstract We assess progress toward the protection of 50% of the terrestrial biosphere to address the species-extinction crisis and conserve a global ecological heritage for future generations. Using a map of Earth’s 846 terrestrial ecoregions, we show that 98 ecoregions (12%) exceed Half Protected; 313 ecoregions (37%) fall short of Half Protected but have sufficient unaltered habitat remaining to reach the target; and 207 ecoregions (24%) are in peril, where an average of only 4% of natural habitat remains. We propose a Global Deal for Nature—a companion to the Paris Climate Deal—to promote increased habitat protection and restoration, national- and ecoregion-scale conservation strategies, and the empowerment of indigenous peoples to protect their sovereign lands. The goal of such an accord would be to protect half the terrestrial realm by 2050 to halt the extinction crisis while sustaining human livelihoods.   The full article is available at: https://academic.oup.com/biosci/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix014 An interactive ecoregion map of the world with protection status by region is available at: http://ecoregions2017.appspot.com A blog post calling on leaders and advocates to create a Global Deal for Nature and protect half the terrestrial realm by 2050 is available...

NNH Network recruits support for protection of half the planet by 2050

First-ever Nature Needs Half Network reception engages conservation leaders with a new scientific framework and roadmap for the protection of 50% of Earth’s wild lands. WASHINGTON, D.C., April 5th, 2017 – Dozens of conservation leaders gathered on Wednesday of last week at a reception hosted by the Nature Needs Half Network to provide feedback on an audacious plan to protect half the planet’s wilderness by 2050. Representatives from the scientific, indigenous, arts/media, public, and private spheres invited to attend heard new evidence for the conclusion that protecting half the planet for the benefit of all life on Earth is as feasible as it is necessary. The highlight of the evening’s program was a presentation by Eric Dinerstein and Carly Vynne-Baker on a new scientific framework that will help decision-makers accurately and efficiently identify critical areas for protection. The Nature Needs Half Network (NNHN) was launched in 2009 at the 9th World Wilderness Congress (WILD9) in Mérida, Mexico. Its introduction as an actionable science-based plan grounded in an ethic of care for nature at the scale it needs to continue to produce the things people need most was initially viewed with skepticism. Privately, most conservation leaders recognized the vital necessity of protecting half the planet’s wild areas, while maintaining a public position that this goal was too ambitious. Opinions have since changed with a growing recognition about the severe threats jeopardizing essential natural processes and human well-being. Conservation groups are rapidly adopting the Nature Needs Half vision as the standard by which their work must be measured. “This gathering of senior leaders is an endorsement of the value and need for...

Taking Action Today: Establishing Protected Areas for Canada’s Future

Report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Submitted by Deborah Schulte, Chair, Canada House of Commons, March 2017 Specific mention of Nature Needs Half on page 27: “Considerable testimony supported the concept of Aichi Target 11 setting minimum, interim targets. Regarding terrestrial protected areas, much testimony was given in support of the idea articulated by Harvey Locke that “nature needs half” – that the ultimate goal should be to protect 50% of terrestrial areas and inland waters.” Executive Summary In 2010, Canada committed to a set of 20 targets known as the Aichi Targets established under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Target 11 commits parties to an aspirational goal of protecting at least 17% of terrestrial and inland waters and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The target also mandates that protection focus on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services and that protected areas be well-managed, ecologically representative, well-connected and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes. Canada’s achievement of target 11 formed the foundation of the Committee’s study. Intact, functional ecosystems – both terrestrial and marine – provide habitat needed to maintain biodiversity and its inherent value as well as ecosystem services essential for human well-being. As Canada’s natural spaces are threatened by human activity, Canada urgently needs to establish an integrated network of protected areas of high ecological value across the land and water. In addition to the benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services, investments in protected areas bring jobs and other long-term economic benefits, often to rural, economically underdeveloped communities. Establishing protected areas in partnership with Indigenous peoples...
Harvey wants half

Harvey wants half

Published in the January/February 2017 issue of Canadian Geographic Harvey Locke, founder of the monumental Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, talks about how Y2Y continues to evolve as it turns 20 and why the Nature Needs Half conservation edict is gaining momentum Harvey Locke thinks big — continentally, actually — but most importantly, he follows through. In 1997, he and an ensemble of conservationists and scientists founded the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative with the unprecedented idea of not just protecting but connecting as much of the intact temperate and boreal mountain ecosystem between southern Wyoming and the northern Yukon as possible. Twenty years on, they’ve more than doubled the park and conservation-land area in this critical 3,500-kilometre-long corridor, facilitating the movements of countless species across its channels and improving how humans and wildlife coexist on the landscape. The idea of “large landscape conservation” has caught on around the world, and Locke is now also promoting his Nature Needs Half movement, which as the name might suggest is the same transformative idea writ on an even grander scale. Read the full Canadian Geographic article here...

We Can Put an End to the Extinction Crisis

What needs to be done, who is doing it, and how it is getting done The Nature Needs Half Network sees two main goals: Protecting half the Earth one ecoregion at a time to preserve maximum biodiversity Defend human well-being by protecting the environment on which they depend for breathable air, potable water, fertile soils, and a stable climate. This effort is rapidly evolving, but at the highest level the Network will organize to: Promote the two goals; Build-out a three-pronged approach—science, policy, and social engagement; Work towards the two goals through a variety of activities across all sectors of society; Stay abreast of the actions and advice of others, encouraging them to take up work to implement the strategy; and Report back to the funders and the world on progress made. The elements of our approach are to: Support the CBD to design and promote a Global Deal for Nature (GDN), similar to the Paris Climate Deal and interacting with it—to address the second great environmental crisis of our era, the species extinction crisis and to guarantee the survival of a living vibrant biosphere. Embedded in the GDN is the need to achieve NNH in the terrestrial and marine realms within 30 years. We will work towards heads-of-state agreeing to such an accord and mobilizing an order of magnitude more funding per year for conservation to achieve it. For the subsequent 70 years there will be a need to keep fostering and refine restoration efforts in damaged ecoregions. Engage in bottom-up efforts to energize an international grass-roots networks, based on successful existing models, to achieve NNH. A major...
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