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...
Boulder’s Conservation Legacy

Boulder’s Conservation Legacy

Ruth Wright, a leader in Boulder’s Open Space movement, tells the story of Boulder’s conservation legacy from the Olmsted Plan to current day. Ruth speaks of the visionaries who hiked our backdrop to establish the Blue Line for the city and the many successes for wild-nature since. She also talks about the ongoing challenges of managing protected lands so we keep nature alive and well. Boulder, Colorado is a leading example of the Nature Needs Half vision with 68% of the county’s land protected. Nature Needs Half is a global call to action to protect at least half of the planet’s land and water to support all life on earth.  See the full Boulder case-study> Produced by Morgan Heim & the “Legacy team”. *The person mentioned in the video is Fredrick Law Olmsted, Sr – the designer of New York’s Central Park.  But, it was actually Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr. is the son of Fredrick Law Olmsted, who came to...

Citizens unite

In Macedonia people are taking off work to replant trees that have been lost in their many fires. Between 2006 and 2007 it is estimated that 35,000 hectares have been lost to fires. For three years a movement to get everyday citizens involved in the replanting process has been gaining steam with an annual day to volunteer supported by government and NGO’s alike. Their efforts have planted more than 30 million trees, only a small dent in a restoration project that is expected to take 50 years but it does serve to bring environmental awareness to the people of Macedonia and offer a hands-on way to get involved. Read more...

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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