Located in southeast Turkmenistan, on the border with Uzbekistan and close to Afghanistan, the Mountain Ecosystems of Koytendag (MEK) are one of the most distinctive landscapes in Central Asia. The region extends from the hot, dry, semi-desert plains of the Amu Darya River Valley to the snow-capped peaks of Ayrybaba, rising to 3,137 meters (10,292 feet) as the highest mountain in Turkmenistan. Covering a combined area of over 100,000 hectares, the ecosystem hosts rare species such as Urial sheep, lynx, and markhor, and is important habitat for pistachio and juniper forests. Recently, experts from this area and around the country gathered to discuss how to conserve this extraordinary natural area, including how to ensure its habitat areas remain connected.
This past month was a historic one for landscape conservation and connectivity in the United States. Each week in March of this year, the Biden administration rolled out a major new initiative to conserve and restore lands, waters, and wildlife across large regions of the country. The recent slew of announcements demonstrates that our movement to think and act on conservation at the landscape level has come of age.
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.
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.
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.
In May 2022, more than 1,200 participants—including four staff members from the Center for Large Landscape Conservation—from 49 countries gathered in the city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for the 2nd Asia Parks Congress (APC). Jointly convened by Sabah Parks and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this APC paved the way for the conservation community to refocus and reinvigorate common objectives, as one of the first, large, in-person (and virtual) gatherings to be held in Asia since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Join the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) to learn about Building a Durable National Framework for Large Landscape Conservation at 10:30 am ET on Tuesday, March 29. This briefing focuses on policy and funding opportunities for conservation efforts that span county, state, tribal, and national borders. Decision-makers, practitioners, and anyone interested in supporting landscape-scale conservation are encouraged to attend.
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.
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.
Collaborative landscape conservation is increasingly important as our country faces emerging challenges to address climate change, biodiversity, environmental justice, conservation of working lands, and rebuilding our economy. Join the Network for Landscape Conservation for the Policy Forum webinar “The Future of Landscape Conservation: Investments in Science and Networks for Biodiversity, Climate, and Cultural Conservation Goals,” which will highlight needed investments to meet these current conservation challenges.