Scientific Rationale for Large-landscape Conservation
The Yellowstone to Yukon region is one of the last places left in the Lower 48 where the full historical suite of carnivores and ungulates – including grizzly bears and caribou – can still be found. The key to sustaining these populations and the region's biodiversity is to maintain, restore, and connect the region's mosaic of ecosystems.
Y2Y's founders and scientific advisors determined that the most effective approach to conservation in such an extensive region would be through three, large-landscape scale conservation strategies, implemented in conjunction with each other. Those three strategies would focus on grizzly bears (and by extension other terrestrial species), birds, and fish. Connectivity would be the key objective for all three strategies, and each would have their own designated Priority Areas - places within the Yellowstone to Yukon region that function either as core wildlife habitat or key habitat corridors connecting core areas. This approach allows Y2Y and its network of partners to focus on ecologically important sub-regions facing imminent threats while not losing sight of the larger context.
Addressing conservation on the large-landscape scale is revolutionary and timely. It's no longer enough to preserve isolated forests, valleys, and wilderness areas. Connection of habitats is key to the long-term health of ecosystems and the biological diversity that supports both wildlife and human communities. Such interconnectivity requires that wildlife be able to traverse large swaths of landscape, even if that land is being used by humans for a variety of purposes. Given the scale and variability of the region, Y2Y's readiness and ability to integrate new, relevant research as it emerges is particularly significant and helps ensure the most effective on-the-ground conservation efforts in the right places at the right times.