Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Edgar Wayburn, 103, dies; No. 1 protector of U.S. wilderness (Wash Post)

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

ph2010030805249

[Editor’s note: We continue to expand Natural Earth coverage this week by adding U.S. National Parks. Do you have a few hours to spare? We’d like to add National Forests, large state parks, and wilderness areas.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Emma Brown. Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Edgar Wayburn, 103, a physician and five-time Sierra Club president who is credited with protecting more wilderness and parkland than any other American citizen, died March 5 at his home in San Francisco. No cause of death was reported.

As a volunteer conservationist for more than 50 years, he was a behind-the-scenes force for wilderness protection who never earned the widespread renown of contemporaries such as the outspoken environmental activist David Brower and photographer Ansel Adams. Dr. Wayburn maintained a full-time medical practice, working evenings and weekends to stave off post-World War II development in California’s coastal hills and later to protect millions of acres in Alaska.

“Edgar Wayburn has helped to preserve the most breathtaking examples of the American landscape,” President Bill Clinton said in 1999, when he presented Dr. Wayburn with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Conflict conservation: Biodiversity down the barrel of a gun (Economist)

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Featuring the DMZ on the Korean peninsula and Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia) of the Indian Ocean. Both of these features can be found in Natural Earth, the free GIS map of the world.]

Republished from the Economist. Feb 8th 2010

THERE was a time when conservation meant keeping people away from nature. America’s system of national parks, a model for similar set-ups around the world, was based on the idea of limiting human presence to passing visits, rather than permanent habitation.

In recent years this way of doing things has come under suspicion. To fence off large areas of parkland is often impractical and can also be immoral—in that it leads to local people being booted out. These days, the consensus among conservationists is to try to manage nature with humans in situ. But there are still “involuntary parks”, to borrow a phrase from the writer and futurist Bruce Sterling, that serve to illustrate just how spectacularly well nature can do when humans are removed from the equation.

Some such “parks” are accidents of settlement, or its absence. Nature is preserved in those rare places that people just have not got round to overrunning—for example the Foja Mountains in western New Guinea, an area of rainforest that teems with an astonishingly rich variety of plants and animals. Others are accidents of conflict: places from which people have fled and where the fauna and flora have thrived as a result.

Continue reading at the Economist . . .

Disappearing Birds (Wash Post)

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

[Editor’s note: “Habitat loss has sent many bird species into decline across the United States.” This chart  shows the percent change in bird population since 1968, by habitat. I like three things about this chart: (1) it uses direct labeling on the green and red lines thus making it easy to understand for all and allowing color blind viewers access to the encoded information (see post) and (2) the chart segments out important thematic subtrends in the dataset. Also (3) I worked on a bird migration supplement (wall) map for National Geographic in 2004 and Cornell Lab of Ornithology has some of the coolest time-based mapping techniques around. See original artwork from the North America side of the supplement now thru May at NG Explorers Hall in DC.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
Graphic by Patterson Clark.  March 20, 2009.
SOURCE: www.stateofthebirds.org.

Related story by Juliet Eilperin.

Major Decline Found In Some Bird Groups
But Conservation Has Helped Others

Several major bird populations have plummeted over the past four decades across the United States as development transformed the nation’s landscape, according to a comprehensive survey released yesterday by the Interior Department and outside experts, but conservation efforts have staved off potential extinctions of others.

“The State of the Birds” report, a broad analysis of data compiled from scientific and citizen surveys over 40 years, shows that some species have made significant gains even as others have suffered. Hunted waterfowl and iconic species such as the bald eagle have expanded in number, the report said, while populations of birds along the nation’s coasts and in its arid areas and grasslands have declined sharply.

From the report: “Reveals troubling declines of bird populations during the past 40 years—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. At the same time, we see heartening evidence that strategic land management and conservation action can reverse declines of birds. This report calls attention to the collective efforts needed to protect nature’s resources for the benefit of people and wildlife.”

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .