Bio Diversity
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EXPLANATION OF THE MAN AND THE BIOSPHERE PROGRAM, THE WILDLANDS
PROJECT AND THE BIODIVERSITY TREATY

The 1994 US Man and the Biosphere Strategic Plan notes that "U.S. Biosphere reserves act: important areas for developing the data, technology, and experience needed to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.... (i.e. the Earth Summit in 1992). One of those recommendations is the Convention on Biological Diversity. Likewise the 1995 UN ESCO Statutes of the World Network of B iosphere Reserves that one of the primary purposes of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program is to "contribute to the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity." Both documents state that the "core" or "protected areas" should be as large as possible and interconnected with wilderness-like corridors, all surrounded by "buffer zones" or "managed use areas" that are heavily regulated to be compatible with the wilderness core areas. This approach is mandated in Article 8a-e in the Convention on Biological Diversity and its companion document, the United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA). Article 25 of the Convention mandates that the GBA be used to write the implementing language for the treaty. Section 13.4.2.2.3 of the GBA calls for "representative areas of all major ecosystems in a region...be reserved, that blocks should be as large as possible, that buffer zones should be established around core areas, and that corridors...connect these areas. This basic design is central to the recently proposed Wildlands Project in the United States, a controversial long-term strategy...to expand natural habitats and corridors to cover as much as 30% of the U.S. land area."

The Wildlands Project was developed by Dr. Michael Soule, cofounder and first president of the Society for Conservation Biology; Dr. Reed Ness, current editor for the journal of Conservation Biology and special consultant to the US Dept. of Interior; and David Foreman, co-founder and long-time leader of Earth First! and currently a member of the Board of the Sierra Club.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is centered on the science of conservation biology, which in turn was largely created by the IUCN ( International Union for Conservation of Nature). The IUCN is the lead organization which wrote and promoted the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is made up of over 500 national and international environmental and socialist groups known as NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations)and is itself an accredited NGO with the United Nations. The IUCN received diplomatic immunity from law suits on January 19, 1996 by President Clinton (Exec. Order 12986). To date the science of conservation biology is based on nothing more than unproven theories. See the pamphlet entitled The Philosophy, Politics and Science of Biological Diversity for a more complete discussion of conservation biology.

MAGNITUDE OF THE WILDLANDS PROJECT

"Conservation must be practiced on a truly grand scale," claims Kred Ness. And grand it is. Ness provides the whopping dimensions of this effort in the article "The Wildlands Project: Land Conservation Strategy," 1992 special issue of Wild Earth. The United Nations GBA cites this article as foundational to recovery of biodiversity.

(Red) Core reserves are wiIderness areas that supposedly allow biodiversity to flourish. "it is estimated," claims Ness, "that large carnivores and undulates require reserves on the scale of 2.5 to 25 million acres.

... For a minimum viable population of 1000 [large mammals], the figures would be 242 million acres for grizly bears, 200 million acres for wolverines, and 100 million acres for wolves. Core reserves should be managed as roadless areas (wilderness). All roads should be permanently closed."

(Red) Corridors are "extensions of reserves. ... Multiple corridors interconnecting a network of core reserves provide functional redundancy and mitigate against disturbance....

Corridors several miles wide are needed if the objective is to maintain resident populations of large carnivores."

(Yellow) Buffer zones should have two or more zones "so that a gradation of use intensity exists from the core reserve to the developed landscape. Inner zones should have low road density (no more than

0.5 mile/square mile) and low-intensity use such as. . .hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, primitive camping, wilderness hunting and fishing, and low-intensity silviculture (light selective cutting). Outer zones may have higher road densities (but still no more than 1 mile/ square mile)...and heavier recreational use (but no off-road vehicles) and campgrounds. New forestry silviculture (e.g., partial retention harvests), selection forestry, or other forestry experiments" would be permitted. More intensive harvesting would not be allowed.

The result of these guidelines is the map on the previous page.

WHAT DO RESERVES AND CORRIDORS REALLY MEAN?

While this effort has a noble mission, the implications are staggering. As noted in the June 25, 1993 issue of Science, it "is nothing less than the transformation of America to an archipelago of human inhabited islands surrounded by natural areas. "

Although 100 million acres of core area might be required for 1000 wolves, the total land area of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, is only 71 million acres. It would mean the nationalization of private land through regulation or other means, forcing people to move to areas zoned for occupation, and possibly shutting down half of the agriculture, forest products, and mining industries--all resuiting in massive unemployment. Scarce resources mean the rest of us are going to pay double and triple for products made from these resources like food, toilet paper, and automobiles.

RESERVES & CORRIDORS DO NOT WORK

What science is really showing is that there is no clear evidence that reserves and corridors work or are even needed. Rather, good forest management, including the use of clearcutting, enhances biodiversity and sustainability:

  • "The theory has not been properly validated and the practical value of biogeographic principles for conservation remains unknown. .
  • .. The theory provides no special insights relevant to conservation." Zimmerman, B.L. and R.O. Bierregaard. 1986. Journal of Biogeography 13:133-143.
  • The theory behind the need for reserves and corridors is being "increasingly heavily criticized.. .as inapplicable to most of nature, largely because local population extinction was not demonstrated." Simberloff. D. J. Farr, J. Cox, and D. Mehlman. 1992. "Movement Corridors:
  • Conservation Bargains or Poor Investment?" Conservation Biology 6(4):495.
  • "No unified theory combines genetic, demographic, and other forces threatening small populations, nor is their accord on the relative importance of these threats." Ibid.
  • "There are still few data, and many widely cited reports are unconvincing.... [The theory that reserves and corridors "facilitate movement is now almost an article of faith." Ibid.
  • "Studies that have been frequently cited as illustrating corridor use for faunal movement, do not, in fact, provide clear evidence." Of those that do support the need for corridors, wooded fence rows are adequate for many species, while only a few require well vegetated strips. Hobbs, R.J. 1992. "The Role of Corridors in Conservation: Solution or Bandwagon?" Tree 7(11):389.

The science used in the MAB and Convention on Biological Diversity does not work and may actually reduce biodiversity. The implications of this treaty must be thoroughly reviewed before it is considered for ratification.

For more information on the maps and Wildlands Project. contact Dr. Michael Coffman, Maine Conservation Rights Institute, (207) 945-9878

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© 2000, 2007 PM.