VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Tag archives for biodiversity
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.
Just in time for Halloween, follow cave ecologist and National Geographic grantee Donald McFarlane through Borneo’s “Cockroach Cave,” where every surface vibrates with cockroaches and other guano-grubbing and flesh-feasting creepy-crawlies.
In Yosemite National Park, the bee population is incredibly diverse. However, these important pollinators are struggling in ecosystems across the nation. So what is the secret to the Yosemite bees’ success? It seems the answer is fire.
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.
The future of the critically endangered Sumatran elephant hangs on a thread. Palm oil plantations have converted 90 percent of prime Sumatran elephant habitat to a monoculture desert. The lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem are the world’s best remaining habitat for the Sumatran elephant yet they are being bulldozed, often illegally, for palm oil everyday.
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.
Conservationists rejoiced as Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks, announced the province’s new government would create two parks totaling 104,000 hectares (a quarter of a million acres) in the mountainous Castle area last Friday. It marked the turning point in a forty year effort to protect this spectacular and biologically diverse area that…
Can the return of a wild animal to its native range help people? Many North American Plains Indians are sure that bringing back wild bison can do just that. This month in Banff National Park three bands of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation and the Samson Cree Nation joined several other tribes to sign the…
In the shadow of Mount Kenya lie the hot lowlands of Samburu-land. This vast, beautiful region of rocky ridges, acacia grasslands and doum palm forest is the traditional homeland of the Samburu people, the rare Grevy’s zebra and the Gerenuk antelope. For thousands of years, it was also home to the black rhino, until the…
There’s a new conservation controversy brewing. While carbon offsetting continues to be debated as a response to continuing emissions growth, biodiversity offsetting is increasingly being seized upon as a solution to unabated biodiversity loss. The idea is that damage to biodiversity from development can be neutralized by creating an “ecologically-equivalent” benefit elsewhere – thus achieving “no net loss” of biodiversity. But inappropriate application of offsetting carries its own risk. What if misplaced confidence in offsets means more biodiversity losses are permitted? With many governments actively developing offset policies, strict standards are needed to ensure the approach really does mean better conservation outcomes, rather than simply drawing a thin green veil over habitat destruction.
There’s a growing trend among scuba divers in the Caribbean: they’re on the hunt for something tasty… Last month, the Glass Goby (Coryphopterus hyalinus) suffered a change in status on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Previously considered of Least Concern to conservationists, this reef-dwelling fish is now listed as Vulnerable. And it isn’t alone.…
By Susan Lieberman
What do the Taj Mahal, Yellowstone National Park, the Great Wall of China, and Virunga National Park have in common? They are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, protected by an international convention recognizing that they and another thousand special places around the world are the common heritage of humanity and deserve the highest level of protection.
Artist and science illustrator Jane Kim is painting all 241 modern bird families on a giant mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Learn how she captures details that make each species unique.