Save the Serengeti

Save the Serengeti

The government of Tanzania’s proposal to construct a road through the Serengeti national park has caused major outrage among conservationists because the plan would hinder the annual migration of some 2 million wildebeests, as well as impact many other species. Recently the World Bank has offered to finance and help design an alternative road project that would still reach the development goals of the government while preserving the integrity of the park and the migration paths of its many inhabitants. As of yet President Jakaya Kikwete has defended the proposal stating the road would not hurt the Serengeti and would ease the transportation problems faced by many poor communities that surround the park.  Read more about the proposed road and join the Facebook community to Stop the Serengeti Highway...

Protection of Mangrove Forests in Pakistan

Concern over the illegal cutting of mangroves along the Karachi coast has led the Pakistani Minister of Home, Jail and Forest, Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza, to take steps toward classifying the mangroves along the coast and the Indus Deltas as protected areas. An understanding of the interconnectedness of environmental and human problems has spurred the desire to protect a tree so vital to the healthy functioning of the coastal ecosystem.  Read more...

Big news for the forests of Northern Finland

Following the Finish government’s decision to protect 85,600 hectares (856 sq km) of state owned pine forest in Northern Finland from industrial logging last December, a new win has helped build momentum for forest conservation. UPM, an international logging company specializing in paper products, has agreed to sell 380 hectares (3.8 sq km) of forest to the Finish state for the purpose of nature conservation. These swaths of land, some of which are connected and undisturbed, are a valuable addition toward to goal of protecting biodiversity in Finland. By the numbers, these announcements mean that Finland is committed to: * Protecting 80% of the 107,000 hectares (107 sq km) of pine forests in northern Finland. * Engaging corporate enterprise in protected area strategies. UPM owns 900,000 hectares (900 sq km) of forest in Finland, of which 17,000 hectares (17 sq km) are designated for nature conservation purposes. A bit about nature in Finland: Finland is a country of thousands of lakes and islands – 187,888 lakes and 179,584 islands.  Forest covers 86% of the country’s area, the largest forested area in Europe. The forest consists of pine, spruce, birch, larch and other species. Finland is the largest producer of wood in Europe and among the largest in the world. The endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal, one of only three lake seal species in the world, exists only in the Saimaa lake system of southeastern Finland, down to only 300 seals...

Quebec, Canada announces that it will protect at least half of its vast North

February 23, 2011.  Today the government of the province of Quebec, Canada announced that it will protect 50% of its northern area from all industrial activity. This means that an area of 500 000 sq km (193,000 sq miles or 123 million acres) will be protected for the benefit of nature and traditional aboriginal activities, such as subsistence hunting. “This is a globally significant announcement” said Harvey Locke, Vice President for Conservation Strategy at the WILD Foundation in Boulder, Colorado. “The government of Quebec is now moving formally to join the global leaders who are responding to the scientific imperative to greatly increase the level of nature protection all over the world.” In 2007, 1500 scientists wrote a letter through the Canadian Boreal Initiative, a project of Pew Environment Group, to Canada’s federal and provincial governments identifying the need to protect approximately half of Canada’s vast boreal forest in an interconnected manner. The WILD Foundation facilitates the global Nature Needs Half movement which calls for the protection of at least half the world, land and sea, in an interconnected manner. “Quebec is now the leader among francophone nations and part of a growing group of jurisdictions that are responding to the need to greatly increase the amount of the world dedicated to nature and its natural processes.” “We need to protect at least half the world to protect the natural processes on which all life depends, including our own” said Locke. “We are in the middle of a species extinction crisis, we are emptying the ocean of large fish and we are radically changing our climate. We must do...

Nature in Boulder: A look into the future

Once land is protected…then what? WILD is working with our local partners in Boulder, Colorado on exactly that question.  As you can read in the Boulder case-study, over half of the land in Boulder County is protected. But, what is needed to ensure that nature continues to thrive in these areas for generations to come? One of Boulder’s biggest conundrums is loving the land to death.  With over five million visitor days per year, the City of Boulder Open Space handles more human traffic than nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.  Emily Loose, WILD’s Director of Communication, recently wrote a Guest Opinion for our local paper encouraging Boulder residents to think about the future, honor the leaders who established Open Space and think fully about future generations and nature when considering the management of our Open Space.  Read the full OpEd...

Think Big!

An editorial in Nature (January 2011), encourages us to “Think Big” about conservation, parks and species. We couldn’t agree more.  Thinking and planning at a landscape scale – including legal protected areas like National Parks and Forests and corridors and other designated (formal or informal) natural lands – is perhaps our best chance to keep ecosystems functioning and species alive in the face of global climate change.   This editorial speaks so clearly to why Nature Needs Half is timely, important and necessary for the function of all natural areas, from our local park to the planet as a whole. Here is a brief excerpt from the editorial, and we encourage you to read the full editorial, Think Big > …”Scaling up is reassuring. At the park level, climate change may extirpate a species. At the landscape level, climate change merely moves it. And scaling up is more effective. Ecologists and conservation biologists have known for decades that small isolated parks leak species. Smaller populations have smaller gene pools in which maladaptive traits are more likely to become fixed. Smaller populations are more vulnerable to drought, pests, hard winters or simple bad luck. This is why conservation biologists, since at least the early 1990s, have called for parks to be connected to one another by unbroken corridors of nature, through which large species can move. For small mobile species, such as birds and insects, a stepping-stone scatter of protected areas close to one another has much the same effect. Climate change makes such connectivity even more important, as species challenged by the changing climate will need big gene pools to...
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