VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Alto Madidi, on the upper Madidi River where the Andean foothills flatten out onto to the Amazonian floodplain, is a magical place and the sixth site on our two-year altitudinal transect in Madidi National Park. Extraordinary biological diversity, remote wilderness, and abundant wildlife – much of which seems almost naïve to the presence of people – are an intoxicating combination for the team Identidad Madidi.
By Julie Kunen Last month, I joined a group of fellow conservationists, chefs, journalists, public health experts, and entrepreneurs in the Peru to discuss how sustainable gastronomy might contribute to conserving the cultural and natural diversity of the Amazon. Representing Latin American nations and the United States, we were united in our passion for the…
One of the great recent success stories in conservation is the rapid increase in the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). Since 2006, there has been a staggering growth of 10 million km2 of new MPAs globally, a nearly four-fold increase over the past decade. Yet there has been no baseline for measuring how well our marine species are represented in protected areas. Until now.
A new paper we have published in Nature’s Scientific Reports assesses the overlap of global MPAs with the ranges of 17,348 marine species (fishes, mammals, invertebrates). We have discovered some sobering results: most marine species are not well represented within MPAs and several hundred species are not covered at all.
Madagascar, with its unique biodiversity and rapidly growing and predominantly poor, rural population is typically found on the ‘top ten’ of countries the most vulnerable to climate change. Yet climate solutions exist and are, in fact, already working. What Madagascar – and arguably much of the rest of the developing world – now requires is an assured and sustainable source of financing to help scale up these initiatives to have an effect at the national and international level.
While world leaders at the Conference of Parties (COP) meetings in Paris negotiate reductions of global carbon emissions, a number of organizations are already working to implement solutions to the problems those emissions create. Many conservation and development institutions are focused on applied solutions to both the current and future impacts of climate change. Such efforts are helping wildlife and ecosystems adapt to changing climatic conditions.
We are issuing the Polar Bear Is Not Alone graphic today in support of efforts at COP21. Our graphic depicts how the polar bear, long the symbol warning us about climate change, is not alone. Joining the bear is a farmer in California, communities in Papua New Guinea, the migrating bar-tailed godwit, the quiver tree of Southern Africa, and other forms of life across the globe. Not only must we curtail carbon emissions to slow the rate of climate change; we need to help both wildlife and humans adapt to the impacts of change by ensuring the protection of functioning ecosystems and the services they provide that support all life on our planet. We must be emissions smart and adaptation sharp.
By John F. Calvelli Last June, more than a ton of ivory was crushed in New York City’s Times Square. With the crush, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and other conservation groups sought to call attention to the slaughter of 96 elephants by poachers every day in Africa and…
By Cori Lausen
Bat Week culminates on Halloween this year. It’s a fitting opportunity to recognize how important these nocturnal flying animals are to our planet. The cave-dwelling mammals have been increasingly at risk from White Nose Syndrome, or WNS, a lethal malady has been spreading westward since its first occurrence in 2006.
By Jeremy Radachowsky
In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris next month, countries are promoting research into new climate-friendly technologies – things like capturing carbon emitted from smokestacks and storing it underground, increasing efficiency of energy use and the transportation sector, and even wilder ideas such as changing the reflectivity of earth’s surface. Yet, there are two existing technologies that are ready to be acted upon today, whose collective impact could be larger than any future technological breakthrough.
By Rob Wallace
Three in One! The dramatic and breathtaking mountains of the Apolobamba range provided the backdrop for our third, fourth, and fifth Identidad Madidi expedition study sites. Expected to take two years to complete, Identidad Madidi is a scientific expedition intended to draw attention to the wonders of Bolivia’s Madidi National Park. Our team of conservationists is investigating fourteen different habitats spanning 6,000 meters – from the Andes down to the Amazon – in what is the most biodiverse protected area on the planet. The most recent leg of the trip was planned to document the biodiversity at three of the four highest sites on our transect.
By Cristián Samper
At the Wildlife Conservation Society today we unveiled our WCS: 2020 strategy and, along with it, a new WCS.org website and brand identity. This announcement advances our 120-year mission to save wildlife and wild places. As the world rapidly changes, our approach to conservation must adapt and evolve. Our WCS: 2020 strategy represents our response to that change and a way to scale up our impact. Our choices today can give us a fighting chance to preserve the intricate balance of species and ecosystems that all lives depend upon.
There is now clearer recognition that sustainable development and biodiversity conservation are inextricably linked and that one cannot succeed without the other. The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals address conservation of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The new agenda specifies that UN member states will “conserve and sustainably use oceans and seas, freshwater resources, as well as forests, mountains and drylands and to protect biodiversity, ecosystems and wildlife.” And SDG targets specifically refer to endangered species, calling for an end to wildlife poaching and trafficking.
By Rob Wallace
We are in the midst of an altitudinal transect of Bolivia’s Madidi National Park: visiting 14 habitats over two years. The dry montane forests of the upper Tuichi river valley provided the setting for our second Identidad Madidi study site in July, allowing us to experience glorious changes in color. Most of the trees in these forests lose their leaves in June and July and an abundance of drier forest plant taxa abounds. One of the aims of Identidad Madidi is to significantly increase knowledge on vertebrate diversity and distribution in this globally outstanding protected area.
By Katie Dolan [Note: This is the third and final blog about Cycle Adirondacks, which ran from August 23-29.] The final three days of Cycle Adirondacks brought bears, Blue Mountain Lake, lessons in building community, and beautiful scenery both on and off our bikes. Residents from the towns along our route welcomed riders with big…