Y2Y: A world leader in mountain ecosystem conservation
Mountain ecosystems around the world are places of great beauty as well as deep cultural and natural significance. The Alps, Andes, Himalayas, and other mountain ranges connected to them have a long history of human occupation. Unfortunately, many aspects of this long occupation have compromised the ability of the ranges to support natural systems, and have fundamentally altered significant expanses of the landscape. As a result, many species of large mammals have either disappeared completely or are at risk of going extinct, and opportunities to experience solitude in a natural mountain environment are increasingly rare.
In contrast, because of historical settlement patterns and challenging geography, the Rocky Mountains of North America have thus far escaped the intense development that has fragmented and transformed the globe’s other major mountain systems. From Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon’s Mackenzie Mountains, the Rockies maintain their full complement of native large mammal species, including grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, sheep, moose, deer, and elk. Bison have been eliminated from many of their original ranges, but some free-roaming herds persist within Yellowstone and in northern British Columbia. And, the region’s human residents and visitors are still able to engage in recreation, fishing, hunting, and traveling in the backcountry.
Of all the world's mountainous regions, the Yellowstone to Yukon landscape provides the best opportunity to preserve an intact, ecologically healthy mountain system where both human and wildlife communities can thrive and prosper. Y2Y was one of the first groups to apply large-landscape conservation principles to a mountain environment. Scientists and conservationists gathered in 1993 to discuss a conservation vision stretching from Wyoming to the Yukon, with a public launch of the Initiative in 1997. Dozens of large-landscape conservation projects have been inspired directly or indirectly by Y2Y's work. Examples of these include the Cantabrian-Pyrenees-Alps corridor in northern Spain, the Terai Arc in Nepal, the Sacred Himalayan Landscape, the Bhutan Biological Conservation Corridor, Proyecto Páramo in South America, the Alps to Atherton Initiative in Australia, Espace Mont Blanc in the Alps, and the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in Central America.
One large landscape conservation effort of a scale similar to Y2Y is the Australian Territory Eco-Link project. Learn more about this project and about the importance of planning for conservation at a large scale by watching the video on the .