April 6, 2023 | By:

Rewilding in the Media #18

Wolverine © Susan Morgan

Wolverine © Susan Morgan. (Relating to #11 in this list.)

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 January-March 2023. We urge sharing links to the ones you find most inspiring.

1. Psychology Today, An Urgent Global Rewilding Imperative Isn’t ‘Crying Wolf’ [Jan. 12, 2023]

From Marc Bekoff’s interview with Routledge Handbook of Rewilding co-editor Sally Hawkins: “Key Points: Rewilding requires transdisciplinary input from biologists, psychologists, social scientists, philosophers, and many others to be successful. Rewilding is ‘giving back to the natural world without tallying what we humans might get in return,’ and everyone can participate. There are numerous global success stories from a wide variety of rewilding projects that serve as models and visions for the future.”

2. Santa Fe New Mexican, Endangered Mexican wolf treks north of I-40 in New Mexico [Jan. 10, 2023]

“An endangered Mexican gray wolf has roamed beyond the species’ recovery area into the more northern reaches of New Mexico, reigniting a debate over whether the predators should be confined to a certain stretch of the Southwestern U.S. as wildlife managers work to boost the population.”

3. New York Times, Where the Bison Could Roam [Jan. 10, 2023]

“Bison once numbered in the tens of millions in the United States. Now, a nonprofit is working to restore the shortgrass prairie, where the American icons and their ecosystem can thrive again.”

For more on this topic, listen to the Rewilding Earth Podcast Episode 76: American Prairie Reserve – Big Rewilding On America’s Northern Great Plains & Episode 86: Rewilding The Great Plains – America’s Serengeti.

4. A study published in Frontiers in Forest and Global Change, Forest-clearing to create early-successional habitats: Questionable benefits, significant costs by Michael J. Kellett, Joan E. Maloof, Susan A. Masino, Lee E. Frelich, Edward K. Faison, Sunshine L. Brosi, and David R. Foster [Jan. 9, 2023]

“A campaign is underway to clear established forests and expand early-successional habitats—also called young forest, pre-forest, early seral, or open habitats—with the intention of benefitting specific species. Coordinated by federal and state wildlife agencies, and funded with public money, public land managers work closely with hunting and forestry interests, conservation organizations, land trusts, and private landowners toward this goal. While forest-clearing has become a major focus in the Northeast and Upper Great Lakes regions of the U.S., far less attention is given to protecting and recovering old-forest ecosystems, the dominant land cover in these regions before European settlement. Herein we provide a discussion of early-successional habitat programs and policies in terms of their origins, in the context of historical baselines, with respect to species’ ranges and abundance, and as they relate to carbon accumulation and ecosystem integrity. Taken together, and in the face of urgent global crises in climate, biodiversity, and human health, we conclude that public land forest and wildlife management programs must be reevaluated to balance the prioritization and funding of early-successional habitat with strong and lasting protection for old-growth and mature forests, and, going forward, must ensure far more robust, unbiased, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.”

5. Voices of Wildlife in NH, Citizen Sues NH Fish and Game [Jan. 16, 2023]

“The lawsuit alleges that the NH Fish and Game Department, which is funded by taxpayers, caters to a minority of the population — those who hunt, fish, and trap — rather than representing the interests of all New Hampshire citizens.”

6. Center for Biological Diversity, New Mexico Butterfly Gains Endangered Species Act Protection [Jan. 30, 2023]

“In response to multiple petitions and lawsuits from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected the Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly as an endangered species. The stunning orange and dark-brown butterfly is found only in high-elevation meadows in the Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico. Most populations of the butterfly have been wiped out, and a mere 23 adults were detected in 2021 surveys. Only two small populations of the butterfly remain because most of its habitat has been degraded by grazing, development, and motorized recreation.”

7. NPR, Biologist Phil Pister — who singlehandedly saved species from extinction — dead at 94 [Jan. 26, 2023]

“A biologist who single-handedly saved a rare fish from extinction by lugging buckets across the desert has died. Edwin Phil Pister spent his life working as a state fisheries biologist in California’s deserts and eastern Sierra.”

“Phil was one of the unsung great conservation biologists – on par with Soulé and others.” ­–Dave Parsons, TRI Carnivore Conservation Biologist

8. Bozeman Daily Chronicle, The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is the land of hope by George Wuerthner [Feb 10, 2023]

“To the greatest degree possible, we must preserve all the remaining natural public lands surrounding Yellowstone. Therefore, places like the Gallatin Range, Lionhead, Crazy Mountains, Pryor Mountains, Gravelly Range, and other Custer Gallatin National Forest lands should be considered as wilderness. What we need is a Greater Yellowstone National Park. There is a less tangible benefit to wilderness or park designation. Setting aside these landscapes teach restraint and respect for others besides ourselves. In preserving places like Yellowstone, we are saying humans are obligated to give some attention to the plight of grizzly bears, bison, elk, trout, and a thousand other creatures and plants with whom we share the planet. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is, in effect, the land of hope. If we can figure out a way to live here without eroding the values that draw us to this place, it will be a lesson we can transfer to the rest of the planet. And that is a lesson we desperately need.”

Read more about this idea in Rewilding Earth here: “A Greater Yellowstone National Park Proposal.”

9. Press Republican, Climate Science: Youth at Work and a new mantra: ‘Electricify Everything’ by Ray Johnson [March 11, 2023]

“The ideas and multidimensional efforts of individuals trying to effect change are impressive and inspiring. Bethan Thomas lives in Wales, UK, and is a member of Seagrass Ocean Rescue. […] Their plan is to plant some five million seeds of seagrass over the next few years that will absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Then we have an organization named Project Drawdown (www.drawdown.org). The group has developed many opportunities that we can take as individuals to address climate change.”

If you can’t read the article at the Press Republican, you can view the article on the Institute for Climate Studies website.

10. New York Times, Will the Future of Alaska’s Wild Lands Hang on a Dispute Over a Gravel Road? [March 12, 2023]

“A dispute has raged for years over the construction of a road that would cross at least 11 miles of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, nearly all of which is a federal wilderness considered one the world’s most important migratory bird stopovers. Allowing the road would threaten not only the refuge’s delicate wetlands that beckon and sustain the birds but also the legal foundation that protects more than 100 million acres of federal land in the state.”

11. NPR, A wolverine has been seen outside of its normal range for the first time in 30 years [March 24, 2023]

“A wolverine has been spotted outside its usual roaming range for the first time in more than 30 years, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The animal, which is the largest member of the weasel family and classified as a threatened species in Oregon, was spotted by two people fishing in the Columbia River near Portland on Monday [March 20]. The animals typically reside in the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon, and have not been seen outside that area in decades.”

12. Nature Climate Change, Trophic rewilding can expand natural climate solutions Oswald J. Schmitz, Magnus Sylvén, Trisha B. Atwood, Elisabeth S. Bakker, Fabio Berzaghi, Jedediah F. Brodie, Joris P. G. M. Cromsigt, Andrew B. Davies, Shawn J. Leroux, Frans J. Schepers, Felisa A. Smith, Sari Stark, Jens-Christian Svenning, Andrew Tilker & Henni Ylänne [March 27, 2023]

“Abstract: Natural climate solutions are being advanced to arrest climate warming by protecting and enhancing carbon capture and storage in plants, soils and sediments in ecosystems. These solutions are viewed as having the ancillary benefit of protecting habitats and landscapes to conserve animal species diversity. However, this reasoning undervalues the role animals play in controlling the carbon cycle. We present scientific evidence showing that protecting and restoring wild animals and their functional roles can enhance natural carbon capture and storage. We call for new thinking that includes the restoration and conservation of wild animals and their ecosystem roles as a key component of natural climate solutions that can enhance the ability to prevent climate warming beyond 1.5 °C.”

13. Are you subscribed to Heartland Rewilding’s newsletter? If not, you can read the Heartland Rewilding Spring Newsletter here.  In this inaugural edition, you can read an inspiring story from the Driftless Area, learn about an exciting new webinar series, explore the Midwest, and more. And be sure to subscribe to receive their fut

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