Why “interconnected” is important

Sarah Kuck recently wrote a great article for YES! Magazine about why wildlife needs room to roam and why connecting protected areas is important.  She highlights issues such as global climate shifts, loss of natural predators and the need for conservation to include economic opportunities for local communities.  Her dialog very clearly and concisely summarizes the need for large, protected areas that are interconnected – in essence, why Nature Needs Half.  Here is a brief excerpt, and I encourage you to read the full article “Wildlife Right of Way” > (But) biologists like Michael Soulé and Reed Noss say grizzlies, wolves, and other big mammals shouldn’t be a casualty of modern society. They could make a comeback—if we give them what they need most: space. Soulé and Noss presented a new method for conservation in their 1998 paper, “Rewilding and Biodiversity: Complementary Goals for Continental Conservation.” They discussed how the expansion of national parks and protected lands is necessary but only part of the answer. To piece back together the vast ecosystems that once stretched across North America, rewilding suggests an additional focus on reconnecting the scattered pockets of remaining wilderness, and on re-establishing predator populations. These methods have now evolved from conservation idea to practice and have become promising tools for fighting biodiversity loss. Conservation is often about saving one dwindling population, one small remnant. Rewilding asks us to think big—to envision a continent-wide conservation strategy, with large core areas of protected land linked by lush, safe passageways for migrating species. Rewilding says that, although saving big spaces is critical, linking the spaces is just as crucial to...

Nature News: Marine protection goes large

As the creation of giant reserves gains momentum, some fear such areas don’t always conserve the habitats most in need. The past five years has seen a spurt in the creation of giant marine protection areas, including a 320,000 sq km marine reserve announced earlier this month in Australia. “Now we have a competition for politicians to see who can have the biggest one,” said Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, at the start of the Society for Conservation Biology’s 2nd International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria, Canada, on Saturday.  Read the full article by Nicola Jones...

Nature Needs Half in the Economist

Boreal blues – In the frigid north tension grows between conservation and development CANADA’S vast boreal zone contains the world’s largest intact old-growth forest and has more fresh water than the Amazon. Its flora help to slow climate change and it is a breeding ground for 3 billion migratory songbirds. Only 12% of the region is now formally protected, well below the 50% scientists say is necessary to save its ecosystem. On May 9th Quebec unveiled the Plan Nord, a C$2.1 billion ($2.2 billion) proposal that seeks both to develop its northern region and to safeguard its environment. But whether those two objectives are actually compatible remains open for debate. Continue reading...

A New Climate for Conservation: Nature, Carbon and Climate in British Columbia

A New Climate for Conservation: Nature, Carbon and Climate Change in British Columbia (Dr. Jim Pojar) explores the role of nature conservation in a climate action strategy for ecological adaptation (Part 1) and ecological mitigation (Part 2), with the key recommendation to develop a comprehensive and integrated Nature Conservation and Climate Action Strategy for the Province of British Columbia (Part 3): Part 1 presents available science on current climate-change projections, and present and future impacts of climate change to ecosystems, species, genotypes, and the processes linking them. The review focuses primarily on forested systems, and also addresses non-forest and aquatic systems. Ecosystem resilience and adaptation options, in relation to climate change, are outlined. Current thinking in conservation science is then summarised in light of external pressures. B.C.’s existing conservation planning and forestry management are reviewed in terms of their ability to respond to the challenges of climate change. Part 2 summarises literature on natural capital, ecosystem services and the role of ecosystems in climate change mitigation. Variations in carbon sequestration and storage in different ecosystems are discussed and research gaps in forest carbon dynamics are identified. Current opportunities for an off set market through carbon activities such as avoided degradation, ecological restoration and improved forest management are also explored, in light of recent pilot projects in B.C. Part 3 integrates the fi ndings from Part 1 and Part 2 in a central recommendation—to develop a comprehensive and integrated provincial Nature Conservation and Climate Action Strategy. To be efficient, this strategy must combine nature conservation and carbon/climate management planning. To be effective, it must embrace the fundamental role of conserving...

Reserves: How Much Is Enough and How Do We Get There From Here?

(Essay) Reserves: How Much Is Enough and How Do We Get There From Here? By John Terborgh, Duke University Is the human species doing enough to conserve the rest of the world’s species for posterity? If not, then how much is enough? This is a key question, and opinions about the correct answer vary widely. An industry spokesperson is likely to ask, “Don’t they (the conservationists) have enough already?” “How much do they want, anyway?” This is a typical but inappropriate response, first, because the issue is really a scientific one, and second, because it puts conservationists in the awkward position of having to say that reserving a certain amount of habitat will be sufficient to save nature. The only correct answer from a scientific standpoint is, “all of it.” That is how much of Earth was available to nature before modern man entered the picture. Since then, at least half of Earth’s terrestrial environment has been degraded or completely transformed to support the human enterprise. We know that half or more of Earth’s native habitat cannot be eliminated without endangering large numbers of species. In fact, more than 100 species have gone extinct in the U.S. alone since the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was approved by Congress. An additional 1200+ species are currently listed as endangered, and an even larger number of unlisted candidate species lurks in the background. This should be warning enough that humans are pushing our luck in preempting Earth’s resources for ourselves. Thus, the best answer to the question, “How much do they want?” is “Everything that is left.” Admittedly, this is a tall...

Rethinking Global Biodiversity Strategies

Summary ‘Rethinking Global Biodiversity Strategies’ Exploring structural changes in production and consumption to reduce biodiversity loss Improving prospects for future global biodiversity requires rethinking the strategic orientation from common policies and measures towards structural changes in production and consumption of goods and services. Significant and lasting improvements in the downward biodiversity trend will have to come from changes in human activities including agriculture, forestry, fishing, and energy use. Enhanced ‘eco-efficiency’ (that is: producing with lower ecological impact per unit output) could slow down biodiversity loss by reducing the expansion of agricultural land; stemming overexploitation of terrestrial and ocean ecosystems; and limiting climate change. An ambitious, comprehensive and cross-sector strategy would cut the rate of biodiversity decline up to 2050 by half, compared to what was projected without any new policies. Measures in the combination explored include an expanded protected area network, more efficient agriculture and forestry, improved forest management, less meat intensive diets and limiting climate change. By design the combination of options contributes to other goals such as mitigating climate change and improving food security. Human development increases demand for food, timber and other goods and services with direct consequences for the extent of natural areas. In addition, economic activities put a range of pressures on both natural and cultivated land, including climate change, air pollution, encroachment and disturbance. Most of these pressures are not directly relieved by conservation and protection, but by structural changes in production and consumption. More traditional biodiversity policies focus on conservation and protection measures. Expanded and intensified measures continue to be important, for example in protecting ecosystems and selected species, and also in...
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