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...

Quebec’s Protected Areas Strategic Plan

On 18 May 2011, Quebec announced is Protected Areas strategic plan.  The plan’s targets include protecting 10% of marine areas and 12% of land area by 2015. This is a positive step towards a network of protected areas totally 50%. The Québec network of protected areas currently covers 8.35% of the province.  Read the full plan...

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...

Update from Cycling Silk: Explaining Borders to the Birds

Here’s the most recent update from Kate & Mel of Cycling Silk…. In the world of strict plans and fixed agendas, detours are just distractions. But on the Cycling Silk expedition, detours often prove the destination – and not just because we frequently get lost. So when KuzeyDoğa, an award-winning Turkish NGO, invited us to explore their biodiversity conservation projects in the borderlands of eastern Turkey – wooing us with wild animals, wide open spaces, and a visit to a Turkish bath – we knew it would be worth diverting from our intended route for a visit. After all, we hadn’t showered in a week. So we steered south, away from the Black Sea, and began climbing onto the Kars Plateau, swapping heavy rain for heavier snow along the way. The roads grew so slick with ice we had to work twice as hard to go half as fast. Sometimes we couldn’t bike at all. Climbing a pass during a blizzard, the snow not so much falling as firing, flakes sharp and aimed as arrows, the police stopped us and made us cross the pass in a truck (driven by Osman and Mustafa, of course.) At least the heated cab offered respite from the snot-crackling, lung-stiffening cold. Surviving on the bike in such conditions required cartwheel breaks to centrifugally force blood back into extremities. While I exulted in this suddenly polar world, cryophile that I am, Mel may never join me on another winter adventure again, even if she someday thaws out from this one. Whether because of the cold or despite it, we fell in love with Kars....

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...
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