Australia Continental Corridors Plan

Australia Continental Corridors Plan

By: Vance G. Martin The first continental scale plan for ecological corridors has been produced in Australia, and is now out for comment. Members of The World Commission on Protected Areas of the IUCN were the driving force. Our colleagues at the Mountain Biome Working Group of WCPA have made further information available. Here is a brief overview from Penny Figgis, Regional CoChair of WCPA: The WCPA network played a major role over the last 6 years in championing the connectivity concept through submissions, letters, personal representations and being centrally involved in key meetings, such as the two Linking Landscapes Forums, and the drafting of major documents such as the Kingscliffe Communique. Individually, many members have been the pioneers, scientists, policy experts and overall champions of the concept of integrated landscape approaches as a whole and of particular initiatives. (Many people over) many years of outstanding work brought us to this point of major national policy endorsement. The draft report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment, The Hon Tony Burke MP, was prepared by the National Wildlife Corridors Advisory Group, a Group which was chaired by the Hon Bob Debus AM and supported by other WCPA members including Vice Chair for Mountains and Connectivity Graeme Worboys and Prof. Brendan Mackey. This is the first whole-of-continent approach to connectivity conservation for the world and recognises a range of different corridors at different scales , including, importantly, a few select and strategic (yet to be designated) National Wildlife Corridors. The draft report also advises that new Legislation is proposed to be introduced later this year to formalise the implementation...
Cycling Silk: Lands of lost borders

Cycling Silk: Lands of lost borders

After ten months and roughly 10,000 km of riding along the Silk Road, Kate and Mel of Cycling Silk have reached their destination! Cycling Silk shows the importance of protecting trans-frontier areas by ways of research through natural resources and social concerns. The work put together by these two young professionals will prove to be extremely helpful for protecting wilderness areas and enhancing international peace. Their journey began in January off the European shore of Istanbul, Turkey. The two overcame unexpected illness, safety concerns and visa constraints in this entirely self-supported expedition and finally reached their destination: Leh–a small city off the Himalayan mountains in northern India. Kate and Mel rode through extreme and varying temperatures, landscapes, cities, and met various people ranging from scientists to government officials to local communities. While exploring the lands of lost borders, they focused on five examples of case studies for wilderness conservation: the Caucasus mountains, the Ustyurt Plateau, the Pamir mountains, Holy Mount Kailash, and the Siachen glacier bordering India and Pakistan. Each of these five examples are based on existing or proposed transboundary cooperation. The two documented the entire adventure not only through the Cycling Silk blog, but also through photography, high-definition video, and never-ending journals filled with notes. Although the physical journey has ended, Kate and Mel certainly have some serious work cut out for them: translating everything they have lived, documented, and learned. Kate ends by asking, “But what is wildness anyway? And why is wilderness worth riding a hard road for a whole year, and for the rest of our lives?” And she responds: Ask a scientist what...
New Nature Needs Half Partner: The Murie Center

New Nature Needs Half Partner: The Murie Center

This week, we welcome our newest partner – The Murie Center.  Here is a bit of information on The Murie Center: Established in 1998, The Murie Center exemplifies and carries forward the legacy of the Murie families (Mardy, Olaus, Adolph and Louise) by inspiring people to act mindfully on behalf of wild nature. The Murie Ranch was home to the conservation-minded Murie families beginning in 1945. Brothers Olaus and Adolph Murie had distinguished careers as wildlife biologists, and married sisters from Alaska: Olaus to Mardy and Adolph to Louise. After the two families acquired this ranch in 1945 it was not only their home for decades, but a center of the American conservation movement. Today it is home to The Murie Center, a non-profit organization that strives to carry on the legacy of the Muries. The 77 acres of land is owned by Grand Teton National Park, the Muries having sold it to the Park in 1968. The Murie Center explores the value of nature and its connection to the human spirit. We encourage the community to engage in sustainable practices that will preserve the earth’s beauty and natural resources for future generations. The Murie Center tries to model different ways of thinking, working, and acting that honor the land and nature. We focus on mentoring, leadership, and open conversations about wilderness, the environment, and our human connection to it...

Victoria Canada Regional Parks Plan Incorporates HALF Vision

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia Canada, is planning the management strategy for its regional parks and trails for the next ten years (2011-2020).  Like many cities of its size, Victoria’s plan consider natural and biological values, cultural heritage, recreation opportunities, population growth, climate change, etc.  What is unique about this plan is its central focus on connectivity, ecosystem health an alignment with the Nature Needs Half vision.  A brief excerpt from the plan shows the forward thinking leadership of this city: “Capital Regional District (CRD) parks and trails secure the region’s ecology and quality of life by establishing, in perpetuity, an interconnected system of natural lands. Parks protect and restore our region’s biodiversity, offer compatible outdoor recreation and education opportunities and accessible, nourishing, joyful connection with the natural world and our cultural heritage. Regional trails connect communities and provide many outdoor recreation opportunities and an alternate non-motorized transportation network. Parks and trails support the health of our region, its inhabitants and the planet as a whole. In this century, regional parks and trails will become part of a larger integrated and connected system of natural areas. Subscribing to the idea that “nature needs half”, policies and actions are explored through sustainability planning to significantly enhance the system of natural areas in the region in order to sustain life supporting ecological processes. By conserving at least half of the Capital Region’s land and water base for nature, residents may live and work in harmony with the environment.” The Regional Strategic Plan for Victoria’s Capital Regional District was in draft form at the time of this post, pending approval of...

Protected Areas & Biodiversity Loss

“Protected areas are a valuable tool in the fight to preserve biodiversity. We need them to be well managed, and we need more of them, but they alone cannot solve our biodiversity problems,” Camilo Mora of University of Hawaii at Mora.  Dr. Mora and Dr. Peter F. Sale, Assistant Director of the United Nations University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health recently published an assessment in the 28 July 2011 issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series citing that the current protect area strategy is not adequate for addressing biodiversity loss.  The overview, published in Science Daily, outlines the key points surrounding the fact that despite the increase in protected area coverage, biodiversity is on a step decline.  The assessment is clear – current levels of protected area coverage and protected area goals are not significant enough to stop biodiversity loss.  But, what is we fully embraced the vision of Nature Needs Half?  If at least 50% of the planet were protected and the protected areas were interconnected….would we stop biodiversity loss?  What other options do we have?  Here are a few bullet points from the overview (read the full overview on Science Daily): The study says continuing heavy reliance on the protected areas strategy has five key technical and practical limitations: Expected growth in protected area coverage is too slow While over 100,000 areas are now protected worldwide, strict enforcement occurs on just 5.8% of land and 0.08% of ocean. At current rates, it will take between 185 years in the case of land and 80 years for oceans to cover 30% of the world’s ecosystems with protected areas — a...

Trail & Timberline Magazine

Balancing Act: learning to be a nature lover and a nature adventurer, by Morgan Heim and Emily Loose appeared in the Summer 2011 Trail and Timberline Magazine, a publication of the Colorado Mountain Club.  The article, which focuses specifically on Nature Needs Half in Colorado, discusses the many things we receive from wild-nature and the important role of stewardship.  Below is a brief excerpt, or you can view the full article. A typical Saturday morning: wake up, stretch, and leave the comfort of your cozy bed in favor of a brutally steep and rocky mountain summit. You find yourself magnificently alone somewhere between the trees and clouds. Just you and nature. Beautiful. Peaceful. Is this the weekend routine of the average Colorado citizen—like you or me? Or is it the daily routine of every bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bear, and every other critter that calls this mountain ecosystem home? It can be both, but there is a careful balance. Colorado is a state with immense natural resources. Of course, there are the world-famous national parks and wilderness areas, and the 54 mountain peaks stretching over 14,000 feet towards the sky. Then, there are the 42 state forests and hundreds of thousands of acres of municipal open space. All of this seeming bounty composes the natural landscape we call home. And, with nearly 30 million of the state’s more than 66 million acres protected, the “wild” experience is never far away. There is little doubt that Colorado is a leader in protecting wild nature, and we are fortunate to enjoy a plethora of wild opportunities. But, as many of us...
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