As we deal with the economic and health fallout of COVID-19, and look to rebuild our economy and future, the smartest recovery plans will include measures to conserve wildlife habitat connectivity. Projects designed to connect habitat—such as wildlife crossing structures that span roads and highways—not only create healthier and safer landscapes and communities; they also create local jobs, bolster domestic manufacturing, provide a boost to the outdoor recreation industry, and stimulate ecological restoration economies.
Every 26 seconds—or less—a driver hits an animal, making highways one of the greatest barriers to wildlife movement in the United States. In addition to killing 1-2 million large animals every year, these collisions cause 200 human fatalities and more than 26,000 injuries, at a cost to Americans of more than $8 billion annually.
The Infrastructure and Ecology Network Europe (IENE) recently held its postponed International Conference LIFE LINES – Linear Infrastructure Networks with Ecological Solutions, bringing together experts in transportation, infrastructure, and ecology, including staff from the Center. The event focused on advancing initiatives that increase awareness, collaboration, and action for more sustainable linear infrastructure—such as roads, railways, and canals—that safeguards nature.
As people throughout the United States—and across the globe—contend with a major pandemic, we also continue to face another grave threat: climate change. One only needs to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to learn of the most recent natural disaster to devastate a community, from forest fires and extreme drought to hurricanes and floods.
Most motorists would agree that roads and animals can be a dangerous mix. Crashes involving wildlife are often deadly for animals and, in some cases, may also cause serious injury or death to humans. Efforts to reduce the risk of animal-vehicle collisions most often focus on human safety, but what if transportation officials and conservation scientists worked together to address dangers to both people and wildlife?
We are pleased to announce the publication of our 2020 Annual Report, in which we share some of our exciting work that took place over the past year. While it was a year full of challenges for all of us, we forged ahead with our efforts to reverse fragmentation, restore nature’s resilience to climate change, and support community-led action. You’ll read stories illustrating the impact we have made, both locally and globally, with the help of our valued supporters and partners.
The report from the Connectivity Conservation Workshop: Guiding the Carpathian Region has now been released. It details the outcomes of discussions among over 50 scientists, conservation experts, natural resource managers, and policymakers from 13 countries that met in Poiana Brasov, Romania from 4-6 November 2019.