January 27, 2023 | By:

Rewilding in the Media #17

Sandia Crest, Sandia Mts Wilderness Area, NM © Dave Foreman

Old-growth forest, Sandia Crest, Sandia Mts Wilderness Area, NM © Dave Foreman

Editors’ note: Fortunately, rewilding projects and ideas are in the news more and more frequently. Unfortunately, this is largely because the extinction and climate crises have worsened to the point that truly bold and visionary conservation and restoration work are essential to saving life on Earth. In this periodic summary, we list some of the notable stories in the media pertaining to protecting and restoring wild Nature that the TRI board and staff discover and discuss. These are some highlights from December 2022. We urge sharing links to the ones you find most inspiring.

1. The Hill, That new chestnut? USDA plans to allow the release of GE trees into wild forests by Donald Edward Davis [Nov. 27, 2022]

“The restoration of the American chestnut is a noble undertaking that certainly deserves our serious consideration and thoughtful deliberation. If the plan is accomplished successfully, the tree would improve forest health, increase biodiversity, and provide important economic benefits for local communities. However, as an environmental historian, I am deeply concerned that individuals endorsing the unregulated status of the [genetically engineered] GE chestnut have not sufficiently educated themselves about potential problems associated with genetically modified trees.”

2. The Washington Post, Want to save the planet? Focus on wild cats. [Dec. 5, 2022]

“Wild cats play vital roles in almost all the environments where they occur. For that reason, aiding their recovery can also help to achieve quantifiable progress on many of our planet’s urgent environmental goals. As some of the most monitored species on Earth, cats are clear and compelling indicators of biodiversity. They can be measured in a timely, cost-effective way, and their numbers tell a story that — for better or worse — can offer a litmus test for nature and climate.”

3. The Wildlife News, President Biden Set to Designate Avi Kwa Ame National Monument by George Wuerthner [Dec. 5, 2022]

“President Biden appears ready to designate the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in southern Nevada.The monument will protect almost a half million acres of the Mohave Desert between the California border and the Colorado River. Stretching from the Newberry mountains in the east to the New York, South McCullough, Castle, and Piute mountains in the west, the monument encompasses representative landscapes of grasslands, Joshua trees, and in places, even scrub oak. Wildlife native to the area includes desert bighorn sheep, Gila monster, and desert tortoises. It would connect other protected landscapes in California, such as Mohave Trails National Monument and Mohave National Preserve, with the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, creating a corridor for wildlife to move more freely across the landscape.”

4. Earth Island Journal, A New Job for Old Forests [Winter 2023 Issue]

“A growing movement wants mature forests like the Shawnee to capture carbon. […] It is clear that different forest ecosystems require different management policies. Equally clear is that, if we are to slow climate disruption, we need what remains of mature forests worldwide to remain standing. The Shawnee, untouched for nearly 20 years, is a good candidate.”

5. New York Times, Animals Are Running Out of Places to Live [Dec. 9, 2022]

“Wildlife is disappearing around the world, in the oceans and on land. The main cause on land is perhaps the most straightforward: Humans are taking over too much of the planet, erasing what was there before. Climate change and other pressures make survival harder.”

“A really good story map article in the NYT on bio-diversity loss and causes.” – Dave Parsons, TRI Carnivore Conservation Biologist

6. Mountain Journal, Doug Peacock Calls Out Loss Of Mother Griz And Cubs In Idaho [Dec. 8, 2022]

“If Idaho claims there are not more suitable release sites on public land it debunks the notion that Greater Yellowstone bears have plenty of suitable habitat to expand into. Second, bears are also being displaced and getting into trouble because of more humans living on the edge of public lands. This does not bode well for bears and it undermines the argument states are making about forcing a legislative de-listing of grizzlies from federal protection and applying pressure to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to delist. […] [The] Fish and Wildlife Service should be sued for using 1986 Endangered Species Act Guidelines that are now far out of date and do not reflect today’s real-world conditions. The agency ought to be called out for not factoring in climate change science into their deliberations to protect bears and their habitats. […]

I believe we will save our grizzlies because we cannot live without them. But it will take all of us human caretakers to salvage that sacred oath.”

7. The Wildlife News, Gila NF Proposes Removal of Feral Cattle from Gila Wilderness [Dec. 14, 2022]

“Livestock grazing is the biggest scourge to Southwestern ecosystems. No matter where they are found, domestic livestock poses a significant threat to wildlife and ecosystem function. Feral livestock currently roams the 558,065 Gila Wilderness, and the Gila National Forest is proposing to implement lethal and non-lethal removal of these ‘unauthorized’ animals. The Gila Wilderness is the center of the 10-million-acre Greater Gila Ecosystem, one of the most intact landscapes in the Southwest.”

8. A 2020 film that was brought to our attention: ReWilding Kernwood
(Available on Amazon Prime)

“For three decades, Jean Aspen and Tom Irons called Alaska’s remote Brooks Range home. Choosing to live lightly with the land, their family built a log cabin and explored the valley on foot – a journey they shared in books and documentaries. Now elders, the couple decide to close the circle and erase their footprints. In their third documentary, they dismantle their home and carefully restore the site to intact wilderness while exploring stewardship, responsibility, and human belonging to our living Earth. ReWilding Kernwood is a layered conversation on release, completion, and finding purpose in the shifting mystery of life.”

9. Portland Press Herald, Trust for Public Land purchases 31,000 acres next to national monument [Dec. 21, 2022]

“The Trust for Public Land announced it has purchased 31,367 acres adjacent to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument for $29.8 million from Conservation Resources, a timber investment management organization. The nonprofit called the land a ‘critical puzzle piece’ in providing a southern access to the national monument from the towns of East Millinocket or Millinocket. The Trust for Public Land needs to raise $32 million over the next few years to pay off a loan needed for the land purchase and to pay for land management expenses and property taxes, along with other costs, said Rebecca Bullis, the trust’s communications manager. The property will be open to public use, and the trust’s goal is for it to provide a southern entrance for the national monument.”

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