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Yearly Archives: 2014
Earlier this month, after years of hard work by conservationists, recreationists, outdoors men and women, legislators, and even members of my own family, the Rocky Mountain Front of Montana received greater wilderness protection, adding 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and designating more than 200,000 acres in the Lewis & Clark National Forest as a Conservation Management Area. My hometown newspaper, the Great Falls Tribune, posted a story here about this significant achievement for Montana and the outstanding heritage in what we call the Crown of the Continent. The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act was passed along with other public lands bills, such as legislation to further protect the North Fork of the Flathead River.
This month, Gabon continued its conservation leadership by announcing an underwater protected area covering close to a quarter of the country’s exclusive economic zone. President Bongo announced the designation at the IUCN World Parks Conference in Sydney, Australia. The protected area will exclude commercial fishing, and provide enhanced protection to many marine species, including leatherback turtles, whale sharks, and whales. National Geographic posted a write-up of the announcement here.
I thought I’d share a quick note about how conservation biologists and others are attempting to study how climate change will impact biodiversity and species distribution. This type of research is essential to developing not only scientific approaches to addressing these impacts, but also to inform policy to better plan for and improve conservation and climate efforts. Specifically, ecologists are developing modeling tools that will hopefully help predict (and mitigate) how climate change will impact species’ ability to adapt to changes. One recent study, highlighted here, utilizes genetic analysis to model and map how certain tree species may react (and move) to climate impacts.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced the creation of the world’s largest Marine Protected Area by expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to cover close to 490,000 square miles! This move marks an important moment in marine conservation, by recognizing the need for increased protection of vulnerable marine species and increasing protection from commercial fishing, mining, and dumping of trash. The official Presidential Proclamation expanding the monument was posted in the Federal Register on September 29, 2014. National Geographic posted a good summary of the action here.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the incredible toll the illegal ivory trade has had on Africa’s elephant populations. This illegal trade, fueled primarily by demand for ivory in China and other countries, continues to threaten elephants throughout Africa. The study notes that on-the-ground conservation efforts have helped stem poaching within the range of those efforts. Working with local communities is critical to the success not only of anti-poaching work, but also larger-scale conservation and development goals. Hopefully these studies, which reinforce actions taken by many governments (see my previous blog posts here and here), will help spur greater interest and action to help protect elephants and other threatened species!
Reposting for updated country views!
The internet community is amazing! Folks from all over the world have visited my site to read more about Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon. These visits to date are from: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands.
Thanks everyone for your interest, and I’d love to hear from you about your thoughts on the book!
From July 1 to July 8, the Kindle version of Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon will be on sale for 80% off – get you copy for only $1.99!!
June 5 is World Environment Day, a day of local and global action to celebrate, conserve, and enjoy this wonderful place we call home. In Gamba, Gabon, the local environmental education group Ibonga organizes activities to clean up the town, protect endangered species, and help residents and visitors alike learn about and conserve an incredible area of Central Africa. Serving in the Peace Corps in Gamba, I learned from Ibonga how local fishermen manage their fisheries, how farmers plant manioc and plantains, and how wildlife acts as both a tourism draw and a challenge to plantations. I thought I’d share a few pictures from past Journées Mondiale de l’Environnement. My book, Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon, recounts more Ibonga and other Gabonese stories.
Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon was published one year ago today – May 8! What a year it’s been! Thanks to everyone for all the support. Hope you enjoyed my stories and would love to hear yours.