WWF, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas’ Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group today launched a new initiative to conserve nature’s connections: Wildlife Connect. The initiative aims to secure ecological connectivity, defined by the Convention on Migratory Species as the “unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth.” From great migrations of wildlife across landscapes and continents to river flows from mountain to sea, nature’s circulatory system of connections is essential for a healthy planet. Yet they are rapidly disappearing, destabilizing ecosystems and the essential benefits they provide for us all.
It is one of the most pressing questions of our time: How do we adapt to the impacts of climate change? October 2022 marked the return of The National Adaptation Forum, which brought together climate adaptation practitioners to share ideas, evaluate opportunities, and create synergies across occupations to try to answer that urgent question. The scale of the challenges is great and because of this, practitioners from artists and municipal officials to natural resource managers came together to work towards systems-level change.
In an era where climate change, habitat loss, poaching and other human impacts put many species at risk, there is a need to understand where animals go and what they need to thrive. A new NASA-funded project—Room to Roam: Y2Y Wildlife Movements (Room2Roam)—aims to accelerate data analysis and coordination to improve wildlife management efforts across borders. The ambitious effort includes a regional network of partners in a major migration corridor of western North America.
How do we keep it healthy, whether it is a family system, organizational system, or ecosystem? The Center’s newest staff addition, Katie Deuel, is on a never-ending quest for the optimal answer. Joining our team as the Senior Conservation Director, Deuel brings a wealth of knowledge about building resilience in all systems, especially in the non-profit environmental world. In her role at the Center, she is responsible for building and managing a high-performing team of program managers, researchers, ecologists, policy specialists, and support staff to carry out conservation goals.
This is a watershed moment for conservation in the United States. The Biden administration’s America the Beautiful initiative—along with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Law—is driving unprecedented levels of funding into the restoration, stewardship, and conservation of our lands and waters. But this influx of federal project delivery funding reveals a gap that needs to be filled: the on-the-ground capacity to get the work done. The Catalyst Fund, with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, aims to build capacity and help local and regional partnerships contribute toward achieving national conservation goals.
Imagine a young male jaguar in the tropical Central American forests looking for a mate. In theory, he could roam from Mexico to Argentina, ensuring that the genetic pool is mixed for a good continuation of the species. In practice, he would have to go through rivers and mountains, but also human-made obstacles such as roads, cities, agricultural fields and other open areas that hinder travel.
This week the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal agencies released a report showing a staggering 1.3 million acres of sagebrush habitat are being lost annually. Called “A Sagebrush Conservation Design Framework to Proactively Restore America’s Sagebrush Biome,” this new body of science uses some of the latest mapping tools to identify healthy and degraded sagebrush areas, where and how it’s being lost, and lays out a path to slow the loss.
History was made this past summer at the first-ever Africa-wide gathering to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature. Hosted in the city of Kigali, Rwanda, the 1st IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) brought together 2,400 participants from across the continent and the world from July 18-23, 2022, under the theme “For People and Nature.” Staff from the Center for Large Landscape Conservation and partners were present in Kigali to highlight the contribution that connectivity conservation is already making, and can make in the future, toward bolstering conservation actions in Africa.
As an early-career conservationist, I have been immensely privileged to experience some genuinely fantastic wildlife encounters. I’ve assisted in the relocation of Rocky Mountain big horn sheep, collared mountain lions, and almost crashed into a hippo while biking in east Africa. However, none of these compare to my remarkable experience while visiting Borneo, Malaysia, in May.
High above the ground, amidst the dense forest canopy cover of South and East Asia, you may be lucky enough to spot one of the most intriguing ape species on the planet. Gibbons live among the treetops and move by brachiating, or swinging with their arms. They can reach speeds upwards of 35 miles per hour (Usain Bolt’s maximum speed was 27 mph) and have been known to jump across gaps as large as 30 feet. Unfortunately, these fascinating and elusive apes are one of the most threatened families of primates, with 19 of the 20 species listed as endangered or critically endangered.