In December 2022, representatives from the Center for Large Landscape Conservation were present in Montreal, Canada when 188 countries made an historic commitment adopting the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). As a main outcome of Convention on Biological Diversity’s 15th Conference of the Parties, the GBF is now the most significant agreement to date for bolstering global cooperation to conserve and restore nature. Since then, the Center has been engaging in discussions and planning across its networks of experts and institutions to best coordinate actions to support lasting conservation gains on the ground. With the importance of connectivity and landscape- and seascape-scale approaches emphasized in the GBF, it is clear that the Center has a significant role to play in its implementation.
More than a dozen climate, wildlife, and road ecology experts from across the country wrote a consensus statement urging government officials at all levels to consider climate change when planning and constructing structures that help fish and wildlife cross under and over highways. As the appetite increases for solutions that improve wildlife migration and movement while reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions, there is a heightened need and opportunity for designing infrastructure that is sited and designed in ways that accommodate the current and anticipated impacts of climate change.
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.
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.
The Canada-US border is the longest international land border in the world. However, this political frontier bisects enormous landscapes and cuts through many Indigenous communities whose territories were historically connected. This political divide has important implications for conservation and cultural resilience—not just in the narrow ribbon of the border region, but for landscape connectivity throughout North America.
The Center for Large Landscape Conservation recognizes and celebrates Native American Heritage Month. We value the relationships we have built with Tribal Nations and their many strengths as conservation partners, including their unique cultures, perspectives, knowledge systems, and governing structures. The modern conservation movement has much to learn from Native American Tribes, and we are pleased to share a few interesting and inspiring stories from 2021 of Indigenous-led conservation efforts.
The Network for Landscape Conservation has announced its 2021 Catalyst Fund grant awards, with 15 Landscape Conservation Partnerships from throughout the United States receiving support. Funds will be used to advance Partnerships’ efforts to protect the ecological, cultural, and community values of the landscapes they call home. Grants are made to Partnerships demonstrating a genuinely collaborative approach to conservation, involving a variety of stakeholders and often including historically marginalized communities who have been excluded from previous land-management decisions. In particular, a portion of the Fund is specifically dedicated to supporting Indigenous leadership in landscape conservation.
The ecological connectivity of marine and coastal ecosystems is essential. It requires linkages that connect our oceans’ critical habitats, species, and natural processes. These connections allow a variety of species to move and they also sustain important ecosystem functions such as fish larvae dispersal, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration—the ocean’s ability to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow climate change. To inform conservation efforts that maintain, enhance, and restore ecological connectivity of the oceans, a new publication was released today titled “Marine Connectivity Conservation ‘Rules of Thumb’ for MPA and MPA Network Design.”
The Little Rocky Mountains in Montana form an island range in a sea of prairie. As a result of their isolation, they are home to plant and wildlife species that are not found anywhere nearby, leaving them especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. In the shadow of the Little Rockies, the Aaniiih and Nakoda peoples of the Fort Belknap Indian Community are taking a bold stand to protect this mountain ecosystem to help preserve their traditional ways of life. The Center is supporting this effort by assisting them in restoring forest health and planning for a rapidly changing climate.
Gerald Wagner is the Director of the Blackfeet Environmental Program and Director of Blackfeet Nation’s Drinking Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Program. We sat down with Gerald to discuss the insights he’s gained from his extensive work in conservation and his advice for conservation groups who want to partner with Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples.