Ecological Wounds of North America

(Adapted from Rewilding North America)

If we are to effectively plan conservation action that will protect and restore the diversity of life, we need to ponder the causes of today’s mass extinction.

Aldo Leopold was the greatest American conservationist of the twentieth century. His insights more than half a century ago still cut trail for the rest of us. One of his tree-blazes reads:

     One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds….An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.

In recent years, ecological and historical researchers have greatly improved our understanding of ecological wounds. Even in the best-protected areas, such as National Parks and Wilderness Areas ungrazed by domestic livestock, preexisting wounds may continue to suppurate.

The end point of human-caused wounds to the land is today’s extinction crisis—death, in medical terms.

The Rewilding Institute, the Wildlands Network, and cooperating groups now categorize wounds to the land in the following way:

  • Direct killing of species
  • Loss and degradation of ecosystems
  • Fragmentation of wildlife habitat
  • Loss and disruption of natural processes
  • Invasion by exotic species and diseases
  • Poisoning of land, air, water, and wildlife
  • Global climate change

Each wound has more than one cause, and many of the causes contribute to more than one wound. The overall impact of these wounds is greater than their sum, and they are highly synergistic.

Among the leading causes of these wounds in North America are overhunting, overfishing, and trapping (including poaching); predator and “pest” extermination (shooting, poisoning, trapping); removing native animals and plants for collectors; agricultural clearing; livestock grazing; livestock fencing; logging and fuelwood collection; mining; energy exploitation; industrial recreation (ski areas, resorts, golf courses, etc.); off-road vehicle recreation; urban, suburban, and “ranchette” (semi-rural subdivisions) sprawl; agricultural and forestry biocides; intentional or accidental releases of non-native species; road building; fire suppression; dam building; irrigation diversions; groundwater depletion; channelization of streams and rivers; air, water, and land pollution; and human overpopulation (which is the fundamental cause).

Wound 1: Direct Killing of Species

Causes: During the preceding five hundred years or so, native animals—especially fish, carnivores, large ungulates, keystone rodents, and birds—have become extinct, regionally extirpated, or greatly reduced in number by commercial fishing and seabirding; whaling; subsistence hunting and game-hogging; market hunting; trapping; predator and “pest” control; and collecting.

Wound 2: Loss and Degradation of Ecosystems

Causes: For almost four hundred years in North America, ecosystems have been degraded and even destroyed by agricultural clearing, logging, grazing by domestic livestock, burning, elimination of keystone species, mining, wetland draining, urbanization, suburbanization, exurban sprawl, bottom trawling, dams, water diversions, groundwater pumping, channelization, and oil and gas development.

Wound 3: Fragmentation of Wildlife Habitat

Causes: Fish and other wildlife habitat have been fragmented by all of the factors causing ecosystem loss and degradation, and by road and highway building, off-road vehicle (ORV) use, pipelines, power lines, and ranchettes.

Wound 4: Loss and Disruption of Natural Processes

Causes: Vital ecological and evolutionary processes—especially fire, hydrological cycles, and predation—have been disrupted and even eliminated by logging, grazing, fire control, beaver trapping, dams and other flood control measures, and killing of highly interactive species—especially large carnivores.

Wound 5: Invasion by Exotic Species and Diseases

Causes: Aggressive and disruptive exotic species—plants, animals, and disease organisms and vectors—have (1) invaded, (2) escaped from cultivation, or (3) been deliberately introduced, threatening ecosystems and the survival of many native species.

Wound 6: Poisoning of Land, Air, Water, and Wildlife

Causes: Farms, feedlots, mines, factories, smelters, power plants, agricultural and public-health biocides, automobiles, oil pipelines and tankers, and urban areas have spread heavy metals, toxic wastes, and chemicals in the air, land, and water, harming species and ecosystems.

Wound 7: Global Climate Change

Causes: Since the beginning of the industrial era, air pollution from cars, power plants, smelters; carbon dioxide releases from logging; and other human activities have increased the percentage of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases, leading to rises in the sea level, and changes in temperature and precipitation.

Healing the Wounds Goal-Setting

A hallmark of recent conservation is ecological restoration. Unfortunately, much of what is called ecological restoration falls far short of the mark. Michael Soulè warns against “restoration” that seeks only to put back the process, but not the community. He writes that “it is technically possible to maintain ecological processes, including a high level of economically beneficial productivity, by replacing the hundreds of native plants, invertebrates and vertebrates with about 15 or 20 introduced, weedy species.” Continental Conservation cautions that “process and function are no substitute for species.” Without native species, the land is domesticated or feral, not wild. Unmanaged land without native species is not a wilderness, but a wasteland.

Much restoration has focused on small sites—a patch of tallgrass prairie, a salt marsh, a suburban creek. These efforts are vital for protecting and recovering imperiled species with narrow habitat requirements, but we also need to do restoration on a landscape level. Less than landscape-scale restoration produces “ecological museum pieces—single representatives of communities that, although present because of unusually large restoration and maintenance investments, do not exist in any ecologically meaningful way.” (Continental Conservation.) A medical analogy would be that of keeping a patient alive on life-support indefinitely and at great expense when there is no hope that she will ever be able to survive on her own.

To rewild North America, we must have a vision that is bold, scientifically credible, practically achievable, and hopeful. The practically achievable part requires specific goals and action steps—organized to heal the specific wounds.

Although ecological restoration is essential for an overall conservation strategy, it is painfully clear that, in the twenty-first century, wildlands and wildlife will continue to be imperiled by human activities. A frontier approach to exploiting Nature still rules in much of Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Restoration will come to naught if further wounding of the land is not stopped. Therefore, each of the seven healing-the-wounds goals is twofold: (1) to prevent additional wounding, and (2) to heal existing wounds.

Goal 1: Permanent protection of extant native species from extinction or endangerment, and recovery of all species native to the continent except those already extinct.

Goal 2: Permanent protection of all habitat types from further degradation and loss, and restoration of degraded habitats.

Goal 3: Protection of the land from further fragmentation, and restoration of functional connectivity for all species native to the region.

Goal 4: Restoration and permanent protection of the functioning of ecological and evolutionary processes.

Goal 5: Prevention of the further spread of exotic species (including pathogens), and elimination or control of exotic species already present.

Goal 6: Prevention of the further introduction of ecologically harmful pollution into the region, and removal or containment of existing pollutants.

Goal 7: Management of landscapes and wildlife to provide opportunities for adaptation and adjustment to climate change.

These are heady goals. With nearly half a billion people living in North America (including Central America), they can be gained in the near term only in part or even in small part for much of the continent. They completely apply only to wildlands networks in regions still wild or suitable for major restoration.

Moreover, these goals are comprehensive, and should be embraced in principle by the whole conservation movement and land managers. No one organization can tackle them all, but all who love Nature should adopt them as overarching goals for twenty-first-century conservation. They must be carried out on local, regional, and continental scales.

(From Rewilding North America by Dave Foreman (chapters 5, 6, and 7). Copyright © 2004 by the author. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C.)

Resources

Rewilding Institute Website Resources include books, scientific papers, popular articles, reports, and links to groups working on continental-scale conservation. Among the books, Rewilding North America covers all of these wounds and Continental Conservation covers many of them—both are available directly from TRI. Other books may be ordered directly from Amazon from this website.

Key articles, whether peer-reviewed or popular, are listed under each topic in four categories: (1) Those in PDF form that can be downloaded; (2) those that are available in listed books; (3) those that are available from a link to another site; and (4) those we cannot yet offer electronically.

(Note: This part of the website is still under construction. Unfortunately, many scientific journals do not seem to be interested in making papers available for educational purposes and thus will not allow us to offer PDFs from this website. We will add downloadable articles as we receive permission to offer them. We also will add articles when we can figure out other ways to make them available to you. We are currently creating PDFs for many articles from Wild Earth journal and will list them as soon as the PDFs are available.)

For some topics, we also provide links to longer reports, other material, and even comic books. Please suggest other books, papers, and reports on these subjects so we can make this resource more comprehensive.

Links to organizations working on different aspects of ecological wound healing are also provided. These websites have considerable information on wounds and healing them. Instructions on how to sign up for newsletters, email updates, and the like are given for those groups that offer such resources.

The resources available at this time here are minimal. Many more books, articles, reports, and groups will be added in the future. Our emphasis is on the wounds of species loss, habitat loss, and fragmentation because they are most important to continental-scale rewilding.

Note: The following resources come in two sections: (1) information about the wounds and their causes; and (2) information about healing the wounds and the groups working to do so.

General Wounds

Books:

Rewilding North America: A Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century by Dave Foreman (Island Press 2004). Includes a detailed discussion of the seven ecological wounds in North America, and a continental program for how to heal them. Order from The Rewilding Institute.

The World According to Pimm: a scientist audits the Earth by Stuart L. Pimm (McGraw-Hill, NY, 2001). A leading conservation biologist methodically calculates how much net primary productivity humans are using. Order from Amazon.

A Primer of Conservation Biology, Fourth Edition by Richard B. Primack (Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, MA, 2008). The book provides an up-to-date perspective on many high-profile issues in the field of conservation biology. Order from Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Essentials of Conservation Biology, Fifth Edition by Richard B. Primack (Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, MA, 2010). Combines theory and research to explain the connections between conservation biology and environmental economics, education, ethics, law, and the social sciences. Order from Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Southern Rockies Wildlands Network Vision: A Science-Based Approach to Rewilding the Southern Rockies by Brian Miller et al. (Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project and Colorado Mountain Club Press, Golden, CO, 2004). Covers ecological wounds and healing ecological wounds in Southern Rockies. Order from Amazon.

Status and Trends of the Nation’s Biological Resources (2 vols.) edited by M. J. Mac, P. A. Opler, C. E. Puckett Haecker, and P. D. Doran (U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, 1998). A detailed reference by leading biologists on the ecological wounds in the United States. Order from Amazon.

Sky Islands Wildlands Network Conservation Plan by Dave Foreman et al. (The Wildlands Project 2000). Covers the ecological wounds and how to heal them in the Sky Islands of southern New Mexico and Arizona (this is the initial discussion of the healing-the-wounds approach). Available from Kim Vacariu, The Wildlands Network, at 520-558-0165  or kim@wildlandsnetwork.org.

New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network Vision by Dave Foreman et al. (The Wildlands Project 2003). Covers the ecological wounds and how to heal them in New Mexico. CD only available from Kim Vacariu, The Wildlands Network, at 520-558-0165 or kim@wildlandsnetwork.org.

Reports:

“Threats to At-Risk Species in America’s Private Forests – A Forests on the Edge Report”  by Susan M. Stein, Mary A. Carr, Ronald E. McRoberts, Lisa G. Mahal, and Sara J. Comas. (USDA/USFS  October 2010) Identifies areas in conterminous US where at-risk species habitats in rural private forests will decrease due to increased housing density, wildfire, insects and disease. Click for pdf.

Barnosky et al. “Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?”  Nature 471, 51–57 (03 March 2011) Studies results confirm unexpectedly higher current extinction rates, indicating need for effective conservation strategies. Click for pdf.

Groups:

EDGE – Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered. The EDGE of Existence programme is the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history.

Healing the General Wounds

Books:

Continental Conservation: Scientific Foundations of Regional Reserve Networks edited by Michael E. Soulè and John Terborgh (Island Press 1999). Includes a state-of-the-art chapter on large-scale ecological restoration. Order from The Rewilding Institute.

Papers:

Groups:

Earthjustice – a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations and communities.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation – a team of conservationists and scientists empowered by their research to protect the land, waters and wildlife of coastal British Columbia.

Sierra Club – My Piece of America – Interactive website campaign designed to inspire personal connections and desire to protect wild places.

Biodiversity Project – Researches, designs, implements and evaluates communication and education strategies that inspire individuals, civic institutions and elected and appointed leaders to make the connection between their values and environmental causes.

Wild Utah Project – provides scientific support needed to shape regional land use to help restore native wildlife, maintain ecological integrity, expand wilderness, protect biodiversity, and provide for ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change.

International Union for Conservation of Nature  (IUCN)   – a worldwide partnership of scientists, experts, agencies and states whose mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

Encyclopedia of Life – mission is to increase awareness and understanding of living nature through an Encyclopedia of Life that gathers, generates, and shares knowledge in an open, freely accessible and trusted digital resource.

People & Wildlife  – forum designed to help resolve conflicts between the needs of people and those of wildlife, and develop long-term, humane solutions.

Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) (UK) – works to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems using ‘Conservation Quartet’: research, education, community involvement and implementation of long-term solutions.

Wounds – by Wound

(1) Loss of Species

Books:

Wildlife in America (revised edition) by Peter Matthiessen (Viking, NY, 1987). A classic history of wildlife extermination in North America by one of our greatest authors. Order from Amazon.

The Condor’s Shadow: The Loss and Recovery of Wildlife in America by David S. Wilcove (Freeman, NY, 1999). By one of the world’s leading conservation biologists and experts on extinction. Order from Amazon.

Saving America’s Wildlife: Ecology and the American Mind, 1850-1990 by Thomas R. Dunlap (Princeton University Press 1988). An excellent history of the actions and attitudes in America’s war on predators. Order from Amazon.

Endangered Animals: A Reference Guide to Conflicting Issues edited by Richard P. Reading and Brian Miller (Greenwood Press 2000). Species experts around the world analyze how humans have endangered 49 species, from the jaguar to the leatherback turtle. Order from Amazon.

Wild Hunters: Predators in Peril by Monte Hummel and Sherry Pettigrew, illustrated by Robert Bateman (Key Porter Books 1991). Hummel (head of WWF Canada) and Pettigrew look at the polar bear, grizzly bear, black bear, wolf, cougar, and wolverine, and offer a conservation strategy for large carnivores in Canada. Order from Amazon.

The Grizzly in the Southwest by David E. Brown (University of Oklahoma Press 1995). A classic history of the extermination of the grizzly from the southwestern United States. Order from Amazon.

The Wolf in the Southwest: The Making of an Endangered Species edited by David E. Brown (University of Arizona Press 1983). The history of the extermination of the wolf from the southwestern United States. Order from Amazon.

Borderland Jaguars: Tigres de la Frontera by David E. Brown and Carlos A. Lopez Gonzalez (University of Utah Press 2001). The history and natural history of the jaguar on the U.S.-Mexico border. Carlos Lopez’s field research found the breeding population of big spotted cats in northern Sonora that the Northern Jaguar Project is now trying to protect. Order from Amazon.

Mountain Lion: An unnatural history of pumas and people by Chris Bolgiano (Stackpole Books 1995). David Brown writes, “This is an extraordinary book. Well-researched and authentic, [it] tells the story of America’s love-hate relationship with its biggest cat in a literate, yet highly readable prose.” Order from Amazon.

Cougar: The American Lion by Kevin Hansen, Foreword by Robert Redford (Northland Publishing 1992). An excellent and readable reference to the cougar. Illustrated. Order from Amazon.

Desert Puma: Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation of an Enduring Carnivore by Kenneth A. Logan and Linda L. Sweanor (Island Press 2001). Dave Maehr writes, “Logan and Sweanor’s ten-year research marathon is a benchmark of field biology. Along with an important synthesis of puma ecology and a critique of human relations with America’s lion, their population-scale experiment—unprecedented in research on the species—is destined to be a classic.” Order from Amazon.

The Florida Panther: Life and Death of a Vanishing Carnivore by David S. Maehr (Island Press 1997). Maehr was a Rewilding Institute Fellow and former head of the Florida Panther Study Project. Carl Hiaasen writes, “No one knows more about the spectral Florida panther than David Maehr—and no one has done more to save the great cat from vanishing forever from this earth.” Order from Amazon.

Prairie Night: Black-Footed Ferrets and the Recovery of Endangered Species by Brian Miller, Richard P. Reading, and Steve Forrest. (Miller is a Rewilding Institute Fellow.) This is a thorough natural history of the ferret and a history of its near extinction. It is also an honest, shocking look at the chicken-shit struggles within the wildlife agency bureaucracy that almost lost the ferret forever. Order from Amazon.

Papers:

David S. Wilcove et al. “Quantifying Threats to Imperiled Species in the United States,” BioScience 48, no. 8 (August 1, 1998): 607-615. Available on JSTOR.

Groups:

Endangered Species Coalition – national network of conservation, scientific, education, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, business and community organizations working to protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last remaining wild places.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature  (IUCN Red List) – a powerful internet tool providing information on population size and trends, geographic range and habitat needs of species. See also the European Red List/European Mammal Assessment.

Bushmeat Crisis Taskforce – building a public, professional and government constituency aimed at identifying and supporting solutions that effectively respond to the bushmeat crisis in Africa and around the world. View reports and documents about seven major wildlife groups affected by the trade.

Healing Wound 1 – Restoring Species

Books:

Large Mammal Restoration: Ecological and Sociological Challenges in the 21st Century edited by David S. Maehr, Reed F. Noss, and Jeffery L. Larkin (Island Press, Washington, DC, 2001). Top field biologists discuss lessons in restoring large mammals (including carnivores) to the wild. Order from Amazon.

The Return of the Wolf: Reflections on the Future of Wolves in the Northeast by Bill McKibben, John B. Theberge, Kristin DeBoer, and Rick Bass, edited by John Elder (Middlebury College Press, 2000). A thoughtful and eloquent discussion about possible recovery and restoration of wolves in New England and the Adirondacks. Order from Amazon.

Listening to Cougar edited by Marc Bekoff and Cara Blessley Lowe, foreword by Jane Goodall. (University Press of Colorado, 2007). Stories and essays consider how vital mountain lions are to people as symbols of power and wildness.

Articles:

Michael Soulè and Reed Noss, “Rewilding and Biodiversity as Complementary Goals for Continental Conservation,” Wild Earth, Fall 1998, 22.

Booklets:

Cull of the Wild – A Contemporary Analysis of Wildlife Trapping in the United States  Book and video both available from the Animal Protection Institute. Geared toward the needs and concerns of animal advocates and others interested in learning about trapping and making a difference.

Coyotes in Our Midst – Coexisting with an Adaptable and Resilient Carnivore  Available from the Animal Protection Institute. Proven techniques available to ranchers and suburbanites for coexisting with coyotes.

Puma Field Guide and the Puma Identification Guide by Harley Shaw, Paul Beier, Melanie Culver, and Melissa Grigione. Published by the Cougar Network. Cover biological considerations, general life history, identification, assessment, and management of Puma concolor.

Groups:

General Carnivores and highly interactive species

Carnivore Ecology and Conservation  permanently updated news, searchable literature database featuring thousands of papers and theses, future meeting details and proceedings of past ones, action plans, ecological knowledge monitoring.

Naturalia  Mexico’s leading citizen conservation group working on protection and restoration of endangered species, including carnivores.

Wild Earth Guardians uses a focal species approach, prioritizing the protection of keystone, umbrella, and indicator species to ensure that  biodiversity protection work leverages as much protection as possible.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies is working for sustainable populations of gray wolves and grizzly bears in the northern Rockies ecosystem.

Center for Biological Diversity champions recovery of the Mexican wolf as well as gray wolves throughout the Southwest and Southern Rocky Mountains. Also advocates legal protections for a variety of other imperiled carnivores, ranging from polar bears to island foxes.

Conservation Northwest Keeping the Northwest wild, with a focus on large wild landscapes and creatures in Washington and British Columbia. Projects include reintroduction of fisher to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, ESA designation and habitat protection for the Canada Lynx, and conservation of all native wildlife and their habitats.

Defenders of Wildlife Committed to protecting wildlife across the nation and across international borders.

Big Wildlife provides a voice for keystone wildlife and top carnivores such as cougars, bears, coyotes, and wolves in North America.

Predator Defense Oregon-based, their mission is to protect native predators and create alternatives for people to coexist with wildlife.

Ban Cruel Traps exposes the cruel effect traps and trapping have on wild and domestic animals. Contains many tools useful in starting, leading, or working within a successful campaign to reduce or end the trapping of animals.

Wolves

Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project.  A coalition working in Flagstaff that promotes wolf recovery in the greater Grand Canyon region through education and public outreach.

Naturalia Mexico’s leading endangered species conservation groups works on Mexican wolf recovery in the Northern Sierra Madre.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies Has a major focus on wolf protection in the Northern Rockies.

International Wolf Center Runs an educational and research center on wolves worldwide in Ely, Minnesota and publishes the magazine International Wolf.

National Wolfwatcher Coalition Advocates for the long term survival of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf, and the red wolf.

Timber Wolf Alliance TWA promotes and assists in achieving a sustainable population of wolves through public education in the western Great Lakes region. Offers a variety of resources.

Defenders of Wildlife Working to restore wolves to Colorado’s southern Rockies region and the Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest.

Center for Biological Diversity champions recovery of the Mexican Wolf as well as gray wolves throughout the Southwest and southern Rocky Mountains.

Wolf Conservation Center offers education programs emphasizing the ecological benefits of wolves, wolf history, and the current status of wolf recovery in the US. Participates in the Species Survival Plans and Recovery Plans for the Mexican Gray Wolf and the Red Wolf.

Panthera (Jaguar, Tiger, Lion, Leopard) and Acinonyx (Cheetah)

Northern Jaguar Project Works with Naturalia to protect the northernmost breeding population of jaguars in Sonora (just south of the Arizona border) by buying and managing ranches as a jaguar reserve.

Naturalia Buys, owns, and manages jaguar reserves in Sonora in cooperation with Northern Jaguar Project.

Defenders of Wildlife Southwest Office Plays a very active role in northern jaguar issues.

Snow Leopard Trust  (International) Founded in 1981, the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard.

Iranian Cheetah Society  (International) Conducts biological surveys and sponsors community education about the cheetah and its ecosystems. Focuses on reducing human-cheetah conflict and encourages public participation in conservation programs.

Cheetah Conservation Fund (International) Works for conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems by developing best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species.

Mountain Lions (Cougar, Puma)

Mountain Lion Foundation – dedicated to preserving the lion and conserving it’s habitat.

The Cougar Fund Promotes cougar research, education and strong conservation and management policies. Supports acquisition and protection of cougar habitat. Cougar Channel.

Cougar Rewilding Foundation Formerly the Eastern Cougar Foundation, CRF’s strong, well-rounded program facilitates the recovery of the cougar in suitable wild habitat east of the Rocky Mountains. Cougar News.

The Cougar Network Dedicated to studying cougar-habitat relationships and the role of cougars in ecosystems. Promotes expansion of cougar into former habitat.


(2) Loss and Degradation of Ecosystems

Books:

Papers:

Paul C. Paquet and Chris Genovali, “The World’s Dirtiest and Most Dangerous Oil; The Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Threatens Wildlife,” counterpunch, March 25-27, 2011.

David N. Wear and John G. Greis, “The Southern Forest Futures Project: Summary Report,” Southern Research Station, USFS, May 12, 2011.

Groups:

Healing Wound 2 – Protecting and Restoring Habitat

Books:

Land Ethics Biodiversity & Wheat, by Kristine and Douglas Tompkins. 2009. Catalogues the major land conservation and ecological agriculture projects of Conservacion Patagonica, The Conservation Land Trust, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, and Fundacion Pumalin.

Papers:

Al Weinrub, “Community Power – Decentralized Renewable Energy in California,” Local Clean Energy Alliance, February 2011.

Groups:

The Conservation Land Trust (Chile & Argentina) – dedicated to the creation and expansion of national parks to ensure the perpetuity of their ecological and evolutionary processes. Supports programs protecting wildlife, reintroduction of locally extinct species, land restoration and programs for ecotourism, sustainable farming and environmental education.

Western Watersheds Project – Works to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and litigation, with a primary focus on the negative impacts of livestock grazing.

Wild Farm Alliance

Natural Lands Trust – a non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Stewardship Handbook – a resource for professional land managers and homeowners;  Natural Lands magazine.

Scottish Campaign for National Parks is dedicated to the cause of existing and future national parks in Scotland and is the only national voluntary sector body for this purpose. Their mission and strategies are made clear in their 2013 publication, “Unfinished Business – A National Parks Strategy for Scotland.”

 (3) Fragmentation of Wildlife Habitat

Books:

No Place Distant: Roads and Motorized Recreation on America’s Public Lands by David C. Havlick, Foreword by Mike Dombeck (Island Press 2002). Reed Noss writes, “David Havlick’s well-written book does a splendid job of illuminating the many challenges that roads and motorized recreation pose to our society.” Order from Amazon.

Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement by Paul S. Sutter (University of Washington Press 2002). Sutter clearly shows that Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, and the other founders of The Wilderness Society and the wilderness area movement were primarily motivated by the threat automobiles and the “good roads movement” posed to the dwindling backcountry after WWI. He also shows how the natural areas movement, led by ecologist Victor Shelford, began separately but came to influence wilderness leaders so that by 1940 both unmotorized recreation and unmodified ecosystems were the essence of wilderness areas. Order from Amazon.

The Big Outside by Dave Foreman and Howie Wolke (Crown 1992). A detailed inventory of the large roadless areas in the United States (100,000+ acres in the West, 50,000+ acres in the East). Out of print but sometimes available at Amazon. Order from Amazon.

Articles:

Paul Kerlinger, et al. “Night Migrant Fatalities and Obstruction Lighting at Wind Turbines in North America,” The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122(4): 744-754, 2010.

Keith Aune and Elizabeth Williams, “Spectacular Migrations in the Western U.S.” Wildlife Conservation Society. December, 2011.

Bruce A. Wilcox and Dennis D. Murphy, “Conservation Strategy: The Effects of Fragmentation on Extinction,” American Naturalist 125 (1985): 879-887. Available on JSTOR.

Stephen C. Trombulak and Christopher A. Frissell, “Review of Ecological Effects of Roads on Terrestrial and Aquatic Communities,” Conservation Biology 14, no. 1 (February 2000), 18-30. The definitive and essential overview of all of the ways roads harm Nature. Available on JSTOR.

Richard T.T. Forman, “Estimate of the Area Effected Ecologically by the Road System in the United States,” Conservation Biology 14, no. 1 (February 2000), 31-35. Just how many acres are harmed by roads? Forman gives the most credible answer. Available on JSTOR.

Reports:

Robert J. Ament et al. “An Assessment of Road Impacts on Wildlife Populations in U.S. National Parks.” Western Transportation Institute and Montana State University, April 10, 2007.

Vehicle Trails Associated with Illegal Border Activities on Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge – July 2011.” U.S. Department of the Interior.

Healing Wound 3 – Protecting and Restoring Permeability

Books:

Southern Rockies Wildlands Network Vision: A Science-Based Approach to Rewilding the Southern Rockies by Brian Miller et al. (Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project and Colorado Mountain Club Press, Golden, CO, 2004). Covers ecological wounds and healing ecological wounds in Southern Rockies. Order from Amazon.

Sky Islands Wildlands Network Conservation Plan by Dave Foreman et al. (The Wildlands Project 2000). Covers the ecological wounds and how to heal them in the Sky Islands of southern New Mexico and Arizona (this is the initial discussion of the healing-the-wounds approach). Available from Kim Vacariu, The Wildlands Network, at 520-558-0165  or kim@wildlandsnetwork.org.

New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network Vision by Dave Foreman et al. (The Wildlands Project 2003). Covers the ecological wounds and how to heal them in New Mexico. CD only available from Kim Vacariu, The Wildlands Network, at 520-558-0165  or kim@wildlandsnetwork.org

Papers:

Kenyon Fields, Dr. David M. Theobald; Dr. Michael Soulé. “Modeling Potential Broadscale Wildlife Movement Pathways Within the Continental United States.”  (The Wildlands Network, Colorado State University, July 2010).

Articles available as PDFs:

Addressing the Impacts of Border Security Activities On Wildlife and Habitat in Southern Arizona: Stakeholder Recommendations.” Defenders of Wildlife and The Wildlands Project. 2007.

Brian Miller, et al. “Using Focal Species in the Design of Nature Reserve Networks,” Wild Earth, 1998, 81.

Peter H. Singleton, William L. Gaines, and John F. Lehmkuhl, “Landscape Permeability for Large Carnivores in Washington: A Geographic Information System Weighted-Distance and Least-Cost Corridor Assessment” (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Research Paper PNW-RP-549, December 2002).

Thomas Michael Power. “Wilderness Economics Must Look Through the Windshield, Not the Rearview Mirror,” International Journal Of Wilderness, May 1996.

Articles available in books listed above:

Andy Dobson et al. “Connectivity: Maintaining Flows in Fragmented Landscapes,” Chapter 6 in Continental Conservation.

Articles available at another site:

Deborah K. Davidson, American Wildlands, “Innovative Partnerships That Address Highway Impacts To Wildlife Habitat Connectivity,” presented to the 2004 ICOET conference. Available on eScholarship.

Peter H. Singleton, John F. Lehmkuhl, and William Gaines, “Using Weighted Distance and Least-Cost Corridor Analysis to Evaluate Regional-Scale Large Carnivore Habitat Connectivity in Washington,” A Time For Action: 2001 Proceedings ICOET (International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, September 24-28, 2002, Keystone, Colo.), 583-594. Available on eScholarship.

Articles not yet available:

Reed Noss, “A Recipe for Reserve System Design and Management,” special issue, Wild Earth, 1992, 24.

Reed F. Noss, “Protecting Natural Areas in Fragmented Landscapes,” Natural Areas Journal 7 no. 1 (1987): 2-13.

Reports and Other Resources:

Safe Passage Links. Compiled by Matt Clark formerly of The Rewilding Institute. Links to various websites with good information on connectivity restoration.

Wildlife Crossing Data for the New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network. Compiled by Matt Clark of The Rewilding Institute. An excellent bibliography of articles and reports with click-on links.

Raymond D. Watts, et al. “Roadless Space of the Conterminus United States.” Science, vol. 316, 4 May, 2007, 736.

Groups:

The Cascades Carnivore Connectivity Project  multi-partner effort to evaluate and enhance habitat connectivity for carnivores in the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) of Washington.

General

The Wildlands Network Focused on completing the four Continental Wildways, large protected landscapes for wildlife movement.

Wildlands CPR Revives and protects wild places by promoting watershed restoration to improve fish and wildlife habitat, provide clean water and enhance community economies – focus on reclaiming ecologically damaging, unneeded roads and stopping off-road vehicle abuse.

Sky Island Alliance A grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of native species and habitats in the Sky Island region of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

Yellowstone to  Yukon Conservation Initiative A jointCanada-US effort that seeks to preserve and maintain the wildlife, native plants, wilderness and natural processes of the mountainous region from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon Territory.

Grand Canyon Wildlands Council Goal is to complete the design of the Grand Canyon Wildlands Network, one of the regional networks, in the Grand Canyon ecoregion, extending from the Mogollon Rim to the high plateaus of Utah, and from Grand Wash to the headwaters of the Little Colorado River.

CorridorDesign Provides GIS tools and information about designing wildlife corridors to the general public to facilitate better conservation, science and dialogue.

Highway Barrier Identification and Mitigation

Perhaps the most exciting and effective new campaign by conservationists is the identification of road barriers and other fracture zones impairing wildlife movement in North America. Conservationists have joined forces with highway departments, local residents, and even auto insurance companies to stop the road-kill carnage on roads.

Defenders of Wildlife Defenders’ Habitat & Highway Campaign has two objectives: (1) Reduce the impact of roads and highways on wildlife and habitat. Existing roads should be modified where necessary to allow wildlife to cross, and minimize impact on the surrounding environment. (2) Incorporate wildlife conservation into transportation planning. Future road development should avoid wildlife habitats and environmentally sensitive places.

I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition Advocates for wildlife corridors to be included in Interstate 90 expansion east of Snoqualmie Pass.

Science and Collaboration for Connected Wildlands Coordinates citizens and agencies on identifying barriers to wildlife movement in California and restoring linkages through them.

The Wildlands Network Tucson Office. Highlights major barriers along the Spine of the Continent MegaLinkages and assists local groups working on barriers. Kim Vacariu, The Wildlands Network, at 520-558-0165 or kim@wildlandsnetwork.org.

Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup A collaboration among Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Game & Fish Department, Federal Highways Administration, Forest Service, BLM, Northern Arizona University, Wildlands Project, and others to identify needs for connectivity throughout the state of Arizona, incorporate connectivity in the pre-design of transportation projects, and conduct detail planning for complex fracture zones involving non-conserved lands.  Contact persons: Bruce Eilerts at ADOT (beilerts@dot.state.az.us), Evelyn Erlandsen at AGFD (eerlandsen@azgfd.gov), or Paul Beier at NAU (paul.beier@nau.edu).

Tijeras Canyon Safe Passage Coalition A group of organizations, agencies, and individuals working successfully to provide safe crossings for wildlife and safer travel for people through Tijeras Canyon. Interstate 40 through Tijeras Canyon just east of Albuquerque, NM, is a formidable barrier to wildlife between the Sandia and Manzano Wilderness Areas.

(4) Loss and Disruption of Natural Processes

Books:

Report:

Wallow Fire Reporting Misleading; Lessons from the largest fire in recent Arizona history,” by George Wuerthner, New West Network, June 21, 2011.

Groups:

Healing Wound 4 – Restoring Natural Evolutionary and Ecological Processes (especially fire and hydrology)

Books:

Papers:

Using Grizzly Bears to Assess Harvest-Ecosystem Tradeoffs in Salmon Fisheries,” by Taal Levi, et al. Study uses grizzlies as surrogates for salmon ecosystem function and analyzes trade-offs between grizzlies, salmon and fisheries.

Groups:

(5) Invasion by Exotic Species and Diseases

Books:

Papers:

100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species – A Selection from the Global Invasive Species Database” Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), November, 2004.

Anne L. Balogh, Thomas B. Ryder, Peter P. Marra. “Population Demography of Gray Catbirds in the suburban matrix: sources, sinks and domestic cats,” SpringerLink, January 23, 2011.

Groups:

Healing Wound 5 – Preventing the Spread of and Eradicating Exotic Species

Books:

Reports:

an ounce of prevention; How to Stop Invasive Insects and Diseases from Devastating U.S. Forests” A Report from The Nature Conservancy’s Global Forest Partnership, Forest Health Program.

Groups:

(6) Poisoning of Land, Air, Water, and Wildlife

Books:

Papers:

Groups:

Healing Wound 6 – Limiting the spread of biocides

Books:

Papers:

Groups:

(7) Global Climate Change

Books:

Articles:

Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea, “Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations,” Cornell University, March 13, 2011.

Lonnie G. Thompson, Ohio State University, “Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options,” The Behavior Analyst, 2010, 33, 153-170, No.2 (Fall)

Reports:

Isabel W. Ashton, et al. “Observed and Projected Ecological Response to Climate Change in the Rocky Mountains and Upper Columbia Basin; A Synthesis of Current Scientific Literature,” Natural Resource Report, June 2010.

David B. McWethy, et al. “Climate and Terrestrial Ecosystem Change in the U.S. Rocky Mountains and Upper Columbia Basin; Historical and Future Perspectives for Natural Resource Management,” Natural Resource Report, October, 2010.

American Teens’ Knowledge of Climate Change.” Results from a study of what American teens in middle and high school understand about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global warming.

Groups:

Healing Wound 7 – Mitigating the Effects of Catastrophic Climate Change

Books:

Articles:

Emma Marris. “The End of the Wild.” Nature, vol. 469, 13 January, 2011, 150.

Think Big,” Editorial in Nature, vol. 469, 13 January, 2011, 131.

Reports:

Scanning the Conservation Horizon; A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment,” National Wildlife Federation. 2011.

It’s Getting Hot Out There – Top 10 Places to Save for for Endangered Species in a Warming World.”  A new report by the Endangered Species Coalition in partnership with eight member groups attempts to answer the question: if we are serious about protecting endangered species from climate change where do we begin?

Groups:

The Wildlife Society has organized an excellent, online library of climate change research.

One Response to “Ecological Wounds of North America”

  1. Ruth HenriquezAugust 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    You have a beautiful website and I’m interested in your organization. You do seem to emphasize conservation of the vertebrate species, and I’m wondering if anyone in your organization has an interest in promoting habitat and conservation for the invertebrate species–so many of which are imperiled–which make up the foundation of the various food webs.

    Thank you for the work you are doing.

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