By: Vance G. Martin
The first continental scale plan for ecological corridors has been produced in Australia, and is now out for comment. Members of The World Commission on Protected Areas of the IUCN were the driving force. Our colleagues at the Mountain Biome Working Group of WCPA have made further information available.
Here is a brief overview from Penny Figgis, Regional CoChair of WCPA:
The WCPA network played a major role over the last 6 years in championing the connectivity concept through submissions, letters, personal representations and being centrally involved in key meetings, such as the two Linking Landscapes Forums, and the drafting of major documents such as the Kingscliffe Communique. Individually, many members have been the pioneers, scientists, policy experts and overall champions of the concept of integrated landscape approaches as a whole and of particular initiatives. (Many people over) many years of outstanding work brought us to this point of major national policy endorsement.
The draft report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment, The Hon Tony Burke MP, was prepared by the National Wildlife Corridors Advisory Group, a Group which was chaired by the Hon Bob Debus AM and supported by other WCPA members including Vice Chair for Mountains and Connectivity Graeme Worboys and Prof. Brendan Mackey.
This is the first whole-of-continent approach to connectivity conservation for the world and recognises a range of different corridors at different scales , including, importantly, a few select and strategic (yet to be designated) National Wildlife Corridors. The draft report also advises that new Legislation is proposed to be introduced later this year to formalise the implementation of the NWC plan. This is a proactive step by the Australian Government to help achieve both Aichi (CBD) Targets as well as Australia’s own Biodiversity Strategy targets. It is a formidable step forward in assisting Australian and migratory species survive in a climate change world.
The Draft Plan will be upgraded and then formalised by the Minister following the community consultation period which ends on April 20th, 2012.
-Penelope Figgis, Vice Chair for Oceania , IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas