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...

The Far North Act, 2009

An Act With Respect To Land Use Planning and Protection in the Far North On June 2, 2009, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield introduced proposed legislation that would permanently protect at least half of the Far North of Ontario in a network of conservation lands and allow for sustainable development of the region’s natural resources. The proposed Far North Act, 2009 would enable a community-based land use planning process that gives First Nations in the Far North a leadership role in determining areas to be protected. Community-based planning would also identify where sustainable development of natural resources such as forests, minerals and renewable energy may take place. Under the planning process, sustainable development must benefit local First Nations and take into consideration ecological and cultural values. To support community-based land use planning, the proposed legislation will ensure the creation of a Far North Land Use Strategy that includes mapping of ecological and cultural values, and policy statements on matters of provincial interest. By protecting at least 225,000 square kilometres – an area three times the size of Lake Superior – the proposed legislation would safeguard habitat for more than 200 sensitive species. Protecting such a vast area would also ensure the boreal landscape continues to fight the effects of global climate change by maintaining its capacity to absorb and store carbon from the air. During the summer, the Ministry of Natural Resources will be conducting outreach sessions on the proposed legislation across the Far North.  Read more...
Conservation Beyond Crisis Management: A Conservation-Matrix Model

Conservation Beyond Crisis Management: A Conservation-Matrix Model

In many regions of the world, failure to plan effectively for conservation of biological diversity has led to irretrievable losses of ecosystem structure and function or, at least, a need for expensive and risky restoration efforts. In relatively intact systems, planning pro-actively for biological conservation requires a systems approach that integrates the fields of conservation biology and resource management. We evaluate current conservation paradigms and describe an alternative, Conservation-matrix model for regional conservation that exploits the strengths of systematic conservation planning and adaptive resource management. We explore application of this model for boreal regions of Canada, where opportunities for large-scale conservation are virtually unparalleled.  Continue reading > F.K.A. Schmiegelow1, S.G. Cumming2, S. Harrison1, S. Leroux1, K. Lisgo1, R. Noss3, and B. Olsen1 1Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H1 2Boreal Ecosystems Research Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6H 2W1 3Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA...
Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change

Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change

The Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat has produced a number of documents about biodiversity and climate change adaptation and mitigation in the context of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) deliberations. These and other recent publications by the CBD are available  for download, including a summary of CBD events at UNFCCC COP15. See the publications by the Convention on Biological Diversity...
IUCN Protected Area Categories

IUCN Protected Area Categories

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defined a protected area as: “A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”.  In the IUCN Guidelines for Applying Protected Areas Management Categories, six major categories of protected areas are defined: I Strict protection [Ia) Strict nature reserve and Ib) Wilderness area] II Ecosystem conservation and protection (i.e., National park) III Conservation of natural features (i.e., Natural monument) IV Conservation through active management (i.e., Habitat/species management area) V Landscape/seascape conservation and recreation (i.e., Protected landscape/seascape) VI Sustainable use of natural resources (i.e., Managed resource protected area) Read the full Protected Area Category Guidelines...
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