Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
Top actions | ... | ...

Sign Up For Email News Updates

Be the first to know about news, events and successes.

"I left inspired to protect the special places in my own backyard."
Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

Read More

Making room for big thinking when it comes to conserving large landscapes

Making room for big thinking when it comes to conserving large landscapes America’s biological diversity is at risk, say scientists in a new opinion piece published in the journal BioScience.

MEDIA RELEASE | Jan. 17, 2018

Making room for big thinking when it comes to conserving large landscapes America’s biological diversity is at risk, say scientists in a new opinion piece published Jan. 5, 2018 in the journal BioScience.

The op-ed states that the future of wildlife and its habitat, ecosystems, geophysical features, landownership and more on a continental scale is at risk without stable multi-jurisdictional science input and planning processes.

The eight authors argue that these issues are currently comprehensively and effectively addressed by a set of 22 landscape conservation cooperatives (LCCs) across North America. The authors also show that the geographic framework, cooperative nature and ability to fund, coordinate, and disseminate science is unmatched by any other entity in the United States. Natural resource challenges such as fire and water management transcend jurisdictional boundaries. Collaborating science and management on such problems reduces such natural resource management costs as well as redundancies and allows for more consistent solutions to challenges to be addressed across affected regions.

The Department of Interior just announced its proposal for re-organization, with a focus on ecoregions. LCCs provide an important complement to any efforts to enhance coordination and cooperation for large-scale work, a scale essential for addressing today’s natural resource issues effectively.

The scientists and conservationists point out stemming the loss of biodiversity conservation and management must be at the large landscape scale, and based on well-understood fundamental principles from the science of ecology. If cohesive, multi-jurisdictional science and implementation through LCCs were to disappear, an important mechanism in the U.S. to generate relevant science and operate at scale would be eliminated.

According to Dr. Jodi Hilty, President and Chief Scientist for Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, one of the world’s first large landscape projects of this kind, evidence of this collaborative work can be seen in the real world.

“LCCs enabled engagement on shared issues across local stakeholders from communities and scientists to federal and state agencies and tribes comprehensively across the entire United States,” says Dr. Hilty, a co-author on the op-ed.

“The LCCs have assessed soil vulnerability to drought, online mapping to support energy development in ways that reduce impacts, science to support wildland fire risk reduction, and more,” says Lynn Scarlett, Co-Chief External Affairs Officer with The Nature Conservancy. “As agencies, including the Interior Department, look for ways to enhance science collaboration and cooperation, the LCCs provide an existing building block to support these goals.”

Looking ahead, the op-ed provides three changes that could be made to strengthen LCCs and provide the biggest impact: keep the focus on large-scale transjurisdictional issues; aim for consistency and applicability in research and; promote scalability on local and regional levels.

Read the op-ed in BioScience here.

For further comment please contact:

Jodi Hilty, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative President and Chief Scientist, jodi@y2y.net

Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy, Co-Chief External Affairs Officer, lscarlett@tnc.org