Conservation and Science

Previous efforts in conservation have been largely defensive. We expend enormous energy saying no to biologically destructive proposals. And thus keep ourselves trapped in the same shortsighted timeframes of those who would exploit nature and hasten species loss. Where we have chosen to look forward and protect lands as parks or wildernesses, these areas have been too small and isolated to hold onto their native biodiversity. Wolves, muskrats, and sagegrouse, among others have already vanished from even Grand Canyon National Park.

With the Grand Canyon Wildlands Network, we present proactive, positive, scientifically-credible and practical steps for redesigning how we live alongside nature. There are lands that need protections, habitats and natural processes to be restored, and activities that land stewards of all sorts can undertake to help our wild neighbors survive. The diverse and collaborative efforts we envision can help sustain nature for centuries to come.

Our Earth is losing species that evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, at rates only matched during the great geological events called mass extinctions. To you and I this means that our children's children may grow up in a world without wild pandas or gorillas, and thousands of insects never even named. During a mass extinction life's diversity contracts beyond what we can imagine, and recovery takes millions of years. We humans lack the luxury of such time scales and a kind of poverty will overtake us, if we can't change the all-consuming course we are following. The sixth mass extinction now underway lies solely in our hands.

   Biologists call this rapid loss the biodiversity crisis. In response, experts in many fields have come together in the discipline of conservation biology. Conservation biology is closest in character to medicine. Like medicine it has a goal--to save lives--but in this case life on Earth. Conservation biology offers a solution to the biodiversity crisis: designing networks of linked, protected areas set within buffering lands where human activities are compatible with conservation. Wildlands conservation groups across North America are designing these Wildlands Networks, in cooperation with the Wildlands Project. We are using the best available scientific information and rational inference to move forward while we still can.


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