Heaven and Hope

The Wilderness Society 2010-2011, “Heaven and Hope” written by Jeff Rennicke The lands that belong to all Americans have long provided wilderness, recreation, and heavenly scenery. Now, scientists say, protecting them just might hold our best hope of saving the planet. Excerpt: “As confusing as these numbers seem, one number is increasingly clear, says Harvey Locke of The WILD Foundation: 50 percent. For decades, according to Locke, conservationists pushed for protection of 10 to 12 percent of the Earth as a “politically acceptable” goal. “When those other targets were set they were bold and visionary,” he says, “but the world has changed and those…targets no longer conform to what we’ve come to understand scientifically nor to the current very serious conditions that exist around the world for nature.” His ambitious goal is the target of a new program called “Nature Needs Half,” which seeks the designation of at least 50 percent of the world’s terrestrial surface to  a level defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. That would require the protection of some tribal, corporate, and private lands, yet its success will depend mostly on the protection of our cherished public lands. >Read the full article by Jeff...

Social Indicators Research 2011

By: Alan E. Watson, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station The Role of Wilderness Protection and Societal Engagement as Indicators of Well-Being: An Examination of Change at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Abstract: A societal decision to protect over 9 million acres of land and water for its wilderness character in the early 1960s reflected US wealth in natural resources, pride in the nation’s cultural history and our commitment to the well-being of future generations to both experience wild nature and enjoy benefits flowing from these natural ecosystems. There is no question that our relationship with wilderness has changed. Individually it is probably quite easy to examine differences in the role wilderness plays in the quality of our lives today compared to some previous time. But how the role of wilderness protection has changed for society is more difficult to describe. In only a few places do we have data across multiple decades that would allow us to even examine how users or their use may have changed over time. At the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota we are fortunate to have multiple studies that can give us some 40 years of insight into how some aspects of use have changed there. For example, an analysis of results of visitor studies at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1969, 1991 and 2007 reveal some big differences in who is out there today, most notably the presence of a much older, more experienced and better educated user population, almost exclusively white and predominantly male. It is time to decide...

Bolder Thinking for Conservation

Bolder Thinking for Conservation, Conservation Biology, Volume 26, No. 1, 2012. Noss et al Reed Noss and others  make a new statement in Conservation Biology concerning the need for large and interconnected protected areas at least half their original size. >>Read the...

CPAWS Conservation Plan: 50% At Least

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, 2007 CPAWS Conservation plan calls for at least 50% of Canada’s public lands and waters to be protected. This number is based on the best available science about what is necessary to keep vibrant evolving ecosystems and all the species that inhabit them alive through time. It also represents the belief that our one species can share the earth with all the others. >>Read the entire Conservation...
Saving Nature’s Legacy: Protecting and Restoring

Saving Nature’s Legacy: Protecting and Restoring

Reed F. Noss and Allen Y. Cooperrider in Saving Nature’s Legacy: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity (Island Press, Washington, D.C., 1994) Noss & Cooperrider reviewed many conservation planning initiatives and determined that between 25% and 75% protection was necessary to maintain ecological integrity. Written by two leading conservation biologists, Saving Nature’s Legacy is a thorough and readable introduction to issues of land management and conservation biology. It presents a broad, land-based approach to biodiversity conservation in the United States, with the authors succinctly translating principles, techniques, and findings of the ecological sciences into an accessible and practical plan for action. After laying the groundwork for biodiversity conservation – what biodiversity is, why it is important, its status in North America – Noss and Cooperrider consider the strengths and limitations of past and current approaches to land management. They then present the framework for a bold new strategy, with explicit guidelines on: Inventorying biodiversity Selecting areas for protection Designing regional and continental reserve networks Establishing monitoring programs Setting priorities for getting the job done Throughout the volume, the authors provide in-depth assessments of what must be done to protect and restore the full spectrum of native biodiversity to the North American continent. Buy this...

Half of B.C. must be protected as hedge against climate change

Half of B.C. must be protected as hedge against climate change, by Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun January 27, 2010 The B.C. government is being asked to develop a joint strategy for nature conservation and climate change leading to biodiversity protection for half the province’s land base. A coalition of leading environmental groups says that existing parks and protected areas cover almost 15 per cent of the land base — not nearly enough to protect landscapes and wildlife against the ravages of climate change. The report, prepared by forest ecologist Jim Pojar, recommends that “at least an additional 35 per cent of the land base (be) managed for biodiversity and carbon,” a recognition that natural forests store carbon dioxide better than do industrial forests. New land designations and/or tenures will likely be required to guide management of the expanded conservation network outside of existing parks and protected areas, the report states. Only activities “compatible with the long-term objectives of biodiversity conservation and adaptation” should be allowed in these new areas, it said. Connectivity of landscapes will become increasingly important as B.C.’s climate continues to warm and species migrate to find new homes. >>Continue reading >>Read the new climate...
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