New Staff Members Enhance the Center’s Conservation and Science Work

The Center for Large Landscape Conservation is pleased to announce the addition of two staff members who are helping to lead our programmatic work in the U.S. and worldwide. Project Director Megan Parker and Senior Conservation Scientist Annika Keeley each bring an impressive array of accomplishments in the field of conservation. We are excited to have these two leaders on our team to further elevate our science, policy, and partnership work.

The Traveling Scientist: Emma Spence

Emma Spence has been busy circling the globe with one goal in mind: to help answer the question, “Do corridors work?” She recently returned to the US from Poland and Italy, where she and local collaborators collected data and genetic samples at wildlife corridor sites. They want to see whether these linkages between areas of habitat are helping promote gene-flow for native mammal species such as the European pine marten and the yellow-necked mouse. As the Wildlife Corridor Field and Lab Manager at the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Spence is utilizing her expertise in GIS and conservation genetics to identify what factors make a corridor successful.

New Infrastructure Funding Unites Transportation and Wildlife Experts

The opinion piece below, authored by two Center for Large Landscape Conservation staff members, originally appeared on Smerconish.com on November 24, 2021. Since then, the Center has created a “toolkit” to help interested applicants and their partners understand the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program criteria and design projects that will make the most of this new federal funding.

First-ever Asia Transportation Ecology Forum Was Co-sponsored by the Center

More than 20 speakers and nearly 200 attendees made history last week as participants in the first-of-its-kind gathering to share knowledge for making transportation infrastructure more sustainable across Asia. As many countries in the region expand their networks of roads, rails, and other modes of transportation, such development can provide vast economic and social benefits but also present challenges to nature conservation and local communities. Therefore, on December 16-17, 2021, the 1st Asia Transportation Ecology Forum was held to explore how this development is already impacting ecosystems—affecting species from butterflies to elephants—and how science-based solutions can be applied to conserve Asia’s rich biodiversity. 

New Report: Experts Say Roads, Rails, and Canals are Threatening Asian Elephant Survival

An international group of more than 25 elephant biologists and infrastructure ecologists released a report today with an urgent message: All efforts to avoid key Asian elephant habitats and their migration corridors need to be made when developing linear infrastructure like roads, railways, and canals. If this is not possible, wildlife crossings are key to providing safe passage for this endangered species. The report comes in response to an explosion of new linear infrastructure across Asia that is increasingly blocking elephant movement and leading to deadly collisions.

The Center’s Kylie Paul Wins Emerging Conservationist Award

A Montana group that has been recognizing conservation heroes for the past several decades is honoring Kylie Paul. Kylie joined the staff of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation as a road ecologist earlier this year to advance the development and implementation of wildlife-friendly transportation policies and projects. But she has been making a positive impact on wildlife and ecosystems for many years.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Provides Critical Funding to Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Marking an important step to safeguard both people and wildlife, the bipartisan infrastructure package that the U.S. Congress passed late Friday includes $350 million to construct wildlife road crossings. These structures reconnect important habitat and allow animals to pass safely over or under roadways, avoiding traffic. The legislation also makes projects to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions eligible for funding in other transportation programs. The provisions in this legislation will help safeguard biodiversity while stimulating the U.S. economy, mitigating climate impacts, and reducing highway fatalities.

Center Completes USAID-funded Project to Advance Wildlife-Friendly Linear Infrastructure in Asia

Asia is home to many iconic wildlife species—such as Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, and Sumatran orangutans—along with some of the world’s richest biodiversity and most complex ecosystems. Yet, as Asia experiences unprecedented economic growth, the region’s natural heritage is threatened by the rapid expansion of linear infrastructure like roads, railways, and power lines. That’s why, over the last 14 months, the nonprofit Center for Large Landscape Conservation has helped USAID build a knowledge base to support Asian countries in planning wildlife-friendly linear infrastructure.

The Center Helps Set Global Conservation Agenda at IUCN Congress

Every four years, thousands of representatives from government, civil society, Indigenous peoples, business, and academia come together at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress with the goal of setting conservation priorities and driving actions. In light of challenges to convening, the postponed 2020 Congress was held with both in-person and virtual participants from September 3 to 11, 2021, in Marseille, France. As an official non-governmental organization (NGO) Member of the Union, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation contributed in multiple ways at the Congress toward setting the international conservation agenda for the coming decade.

Landmark Legislation to Protect Wildlife Corridors Passes U.S. House of Representatives

Marking a significant step for wildlife conservation, the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act along with $400 million for projects to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, passed the United States House of Representatives as part of H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act. These important provisions will safeguard biodiversity while helping stimulate the U.S. economy, mitigate climate impacts, and reduce highway fatalities.

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