The Center for Large Landscape Conservation recognizes and celebrates Native American Heritage Month. We value the relationships we have built with Tribal Nations and their many strengths as conservation partners, including their unique cultures, perspectives, knowledge systems, and governing structures. The modern conservation movement has much to learn from Native American Tribes, and we are pleased to share a few interesting and inspiring stories from 2021 of Indigenous-led conservation efforts.
The Network for Landscape Conservation has announced its 2021 Catalyst Fund grant awards, with 15 Landscape Conservation Partnerships from throughout the United States receiving support. Funds will be used to advance Partnerships’ efforts to protect the ecological, cultural, and community values of the landscapes they call home. Grants are made to Partnerships demonstrating a genuinely collaborative approach to conservation, involving a variety of stakeholders and often including historically marginalized communities who have been excluded from previous land-management decisions. In particular, a portion of the Fund is specifically dedicated to supporting Indigenous leadership in landscape conservation.
The ecological connectivity of marine and coastal ecosystems is essential. It requires linkages that connect our oceans' critical habitats, species, and natural processes. These connections allow a variety of species to move and they also sustain important ecosystem functions such as fish larvae dispersal, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration—the ocean's ability to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow climate change. To inform conservation efforts that maintain, enhance, and restore ecological connectivity of the oceans, a new publication was released today titled "Marine Connectivity Conservation ‘Rules of Thumb’ for MPA and MPA Network Design."
The Little Rocky Mountains in Montana form an island range in a sea of prairie. As a result of their isolation, they are home to plant and wildlife species that are not found anywhere nearby, leaving them especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. In the shadow of the Little Rockies, the Aaniiih and Nakoda peoples of the Fort Belknap Indian Community are taking a bold stand to protect this mountain ecosystem to help preserve their traditional ways of life. The Center is supporting this effort by assisting them in restoring forest health and planning for a rapidly changing climate.
Gerald Wagner is the Director of the Blackfeet Environmental Program and Director of Blackfeet Nation’s Drinking Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Program. We sat down with Gerald to discuss the insights he’s gained from his extensive work in conservation and his advice for conservation groups who want to partner with Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples.
State fish and wildlife managers recognize that keeping landscapes connected is an important conservation tool. Yet there is growing evidence that the impacts of climate change are already altering the needs and behaviors of animals, creating new patterns of movement throughout the landscape. Staff from the Center recently contributed to a new toolkit offering guidance on protecting wildlife movement and corridor habitat in the face of a changing climate.
Read the statement from Gary Tabor, president of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, on the Biden administration’s “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful" report, which recommends a national, 10-year, locally led campaign to restore the nation’s lands and waters.
Evidence of a changing climate can be seen in every community and every landscape. Across the globe, communities are experiencing more frequent and extreme weather events that include drought, intense wildfire seasons, air pollution, and flooding. Alarmingly, it has been estimated that even if worldwide human emissions were to halt overnight, the earth would still be feeling the effects of climate change for years to come. For this reason, communities from rural towns to major cities are proactively preparing for the challenges ahead.
Climate change doesn’t only affect the health of planet Earth; it also affects the health and wellbeing of every person, family, and community who calls Earth home. Conditions like extreme heatwaves, smoke from wildfires, and unexpected weather events pose increased risks of illness or injury. In a new report published by the Montana University System, scientists, physicians, and other experts aim to identify these risks and recommend actions for creating a healthier future.
As people throughout the United States—and across the globe—contend with a major pandemic, we also continue to face another grave threat: climate change. One only needs to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to learn of the most recent natural disaster to devastate a community, from forest fires and extreme drought to hurricanes and floods.