After the lines are drawn: The importance of protected areas governance

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It’s tempting to think that once we declare a protected area protected, all the species, ecosystem services, and ecosystem functioning within the area will be conserved in perpetuity. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We cannot simply establish protected areas, draw lines on a map, and leave these areas alone. These areas, and the biodiversity within, are still subject to internal and external threats – threats like climate change, invasive species (like these flowers in Blue Mountains National Park), and poaching, to name a few. In order to ensure that protected areas will continue to function and conserve species well into the future, we need to also ensure that these areas are effectively managed. For this reason, one of the streams…

Closing Plenary of the World Parks Congress: What is the Focus of Conservation for the Next Decade?

Photo for FES

 

The closing plenary of the IUCN World Parks Congress was full of inspiring speeches and presentations summarizing the work achieved during the Congress. The closing plenary represents a week-long intense conference and many years preparation. Information presented during this final plenary gives insight into what conservation may look like going forward.

A key part of the IUCN World Parks Congress system was stream designation. To facilitate the many discussions occurring between the 6,000+ delegates, the congress was broken into 12 streams and cross-cutting themes. These represent some of the most important tenets of the conservation movement today. These calls to action for the next decade (until the 2024 IUCN World Parks Congress) will shape…

Foresters with Talent

I think there’s always a trepidation when beginning to think about returning to school after spending time working, traveling, or taking time off, as there’s a perception that graduate school becomes a vortex of the “all-work and no-play” mindset. While this, to some extent, is a totally true of the F&ES Program, I’ve found that this school supports and encourages social events just as much as it emphasizes academic and professional networking.

Most students here are creative. It makes sense; as environmental professionals and scientists, we’re asked to find new and innovative approaches to help conserve, protect, manage, and use the environment in ways that promote diversity, social justice, and economic prosperity. In this way, our student body is highly diverse in that it brings together thinkers from different…

Nature Needs Half

A bold statement is reverberating across the International Union for Conserving Nature’s World Parks Congress: Nature needs half. Conservation must think big. It must plan at the scale nature requires. True conservation of nature necessitates that large spaces be protected. As many wilderness managers, research scientists and policy makers have been reiterating throughout the World Parks Congress, this means half of the world’s land and marine ecosystems must be conserved.

The arguments supporting the Nature Needs Half movement range from strict ecological rationales, to climate change mitigation strategies and to emotional pleas for better protection of the earth.

Migratory species threatened by climate change especially need protected spaces where habitat remains. Only spaces geographically large enough and ecologically rich enough can provide the quality and quantity to keep…

Is technology the solution?

The World Parks Congress (WCP) in Sydney has come to an end with a closing ceremony that focused on several main themes: integrating indigenous communities into the decision making processes; recognizing park rangers for their work at the front line of conservation; involving the youth of the world to lead the future of parks, people and the planet; and learning the art of story telling to inspire larger audiences to support conservation. These messages are primary aspects of the Promise of Sydney, which is “the blueprint for a decade of change coming from the deliberations of this World Parks Congress.” It is now up to the delegates and the rest of the conservation community to go back to their countries and “save the world.”

But saving the…

Guilford's Coastal Resilience Plan

Guilford’s Coastal Resilience Plan

UEDLAB SEaside plans

UEDLAB flood plans

GUILFORD PUBLIC MEETING
COMMUNITY COASTAL RESILIENCE PLAN TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014 @ 7:30pm

Nathanael Green Community Center 32 Church Street, Guilford, CT
Please join us for a review of the Guilford Community Coastal Resilience plan as we seek adoption to the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (PoCD).
The plan seeks to proactively address coastal challenges to ensure a thriving coastal community that protects neighborhoods, ensures public safety, and creates opportunities for citizens and
communities to work together…

Learning, celebrating, and asking at the World Parks Congress

 

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We are all students here at the World Parks Congress.

We are all here with a joint mission and shared worldview – that we need nature, and nature needs us. And, ultimately, we are here to learn from each others’ experiences with the hope that we can make the world a better place. The community of practitioners, scientists, and world leaders at the World Parks Congress bring diverse skills, experiences, and knowledge to the table.  Through collaboration and engagement, we hope to find solutions to shared problems and conservation outcomes that benefit both nature and people.

We know what the challenges are. We know how to solve the problems we face. But something stands in our way.  In our…

Our People.  Our Ocean.  Our Climate.  A Call to Action.

“First I would like to first recognize the traditional owners of this land—the Eora people—and their ancestral leaders past and present.” So begins almost every talk at the World Park’s Congress—a nod to the way things once were. I too nod to the traditional owners of this land. And to the traditional voyagers of the sea.

On Wednesday morning, four beautiful Vaka’s—traditional Polynesian canoes—sailed into Darling Harbor in Sydney, Australia to kick off the World Parks Congress. They have been sailing for months now, navigating by the stars as they traverse the globe, carrying a message, a call to action—

—our climate is changing, seas are rising, oceans are warming and acidifying, the world is netting too many fish, storms are intensifying and eroding coasts as they crash…

Musings from Week One of the World Parks Congress

1. Australia’s declared War on Feral Cats

A war was declared this week on Australia’s booming feral cat population.  It is believed that there are more than 15 million feral cats in the country killing an estimated 75 million native animals each night across the country.  Australia’s new declaration shows the governments commitment towards keeping nature and wildlife safe from the proclaimed invaders. Mr. Gregory Andrews, Australian Threatened Species Commissioner, spoke with conviction at Friday morning’s opening plenary on Parks about his government’s new financial commitments to challenge this problem.  He hopes this new commitment will restore native bird populations across the country.  It was nice to hear tangible commitments and achievable actions from a government agency.  I believe it’s the small, doable actions that have a far greater…

Yale President Peter Salovey, left, and F&ES Dean Peter Crane, far right, present The Aldo Leopold Prize to Teresa Heinz on Nov. 10.

On Monday evening, as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies presented philanthropist Teresa Heinz with its highest honor, The Aldo Leopold Award, School leaders ticked off some of Heinz’s many commitments to the environmental field over the years: her work as Chair of the Heinz Endowments, which supports social and environmental causes; her founding of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning; the annual conferences she sponsors on women’s health and the environment; and her service as U.S. delegate during the Rio Earth Summit.

But beyond the projects, conferences, and board work, there are also the stories of individuals who have been personally affected by her generosity. “She has fostered collaborations among scientists, trained future groundbreaking leaders, and provided much needed encouragement to those engaged in…