Conservationists See Rare Nature Sanctuaries

The loss of Black-owned land in this community exposes a cruel irony. Pembroke has been one of the few places Black landowners could gain a foothold in Illinois, in part because this land was passed over by white settlers who presumed its sandy soils were worthless. And now, after generations without large-scale development or landscape-destroying corporate farming, this land has become sought after by outside conservationists because Pembroke’s savannas remain largely untouched.

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When Conservation Means Fencing Out Black Farmers

The Sweet Fern Savanna Land and Water Reserve, in the heart of Pembroke Township, Illinois, offers a glimpse into what much of the area looked like before European settlers drained swamps and cleared forests to grow corn and soybeans.

At least 18 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, including the ornate box turtle and regal fritillary butterfly, have been sighted here. Mature oaks tower over verdant fields of clustered sedge and Carolina whipgrass. Warbling songbirds and buzzing cicadas add a mellow soundtrack to the tranquil scene.

Sixty miles south of Chicago, this wildlife reserve is among nearly 2,900 acres owned by private individuals and environmental groups — most prominently, The Nature Conservancy — trying to establish a network of nature sanctuaries in Kankakee County.

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WWF Accused Of Deceit, Cover-Ups And Dishonesty

An unprecedented hearing by the US House Natural Resources Committee has seen WWF’s reputation shredded by Representatives from both parties, and independent experts, and a denunciation of the “fortress conservation” model that leads to human rights atrocities.

The organization was subjected to unprecedented attack for its involvement in human rights abuses, and refusal to take responsibility for them.

Survival International’s Fiore Longo called it “the conservation industry’s equivalent of the Abu Ghraib scandal – a moment from which it will never recover.”

The hearing was prompted by exposés by Buzzfeed News and many other investigations, including testimonies from Indigenous people collected by Survival International over many years, that laid bare WWF’s involvement in human rights abuses, particularly in Africa and Asia.

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Fairy Creek Provides Opportunities For Conservation

Ever since protesters started chaining themselves to logging roads in the Teal-Jones Fairy Creek cut block on southern Vancouver Island, dozens of articles on old-growth logging have declared that the ancient trees are worth far more standing than cut down for lumber.

Usually, they go on to say that the trees’ value is incalculable.

The old-growth forests of British Columbia took 8,000 years to develop into amazing mini-ecosystems of biodiversity that store carbon, filter water, and provide habitat for endangered plant and animal species.

It’s a fool’s game to measure their value in dollars and cents, because we’ll never come to grips with the fact that the forests are priceless.

But logging companies have no trouble putting a price on the giant trees by calculating the value of the lumber that can be produced.

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When It Comes To Conservation, Size Matters

By Emilio Godoy for IPS – HONOLULU, Hawaii, USA, Sep 7 2016 (IPS) – When the communities living in the Tatamá y Serranía de los Paraguas Natural National Park in the west of Colombia organised in 1996 to defend their land and preserve the ecosystem, they were fighting deforestation, soil degradation and poaching. Twenty years later, local residents, farmers and community organisations have created four reserves, a brand of coffee and a community radio station, while making progress in conservation of this part of the Chocó-Darién conservation corridor along the border with Panama, although threats persist.

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Neil Young Launches Conservation-Themed Website

By Kory Grow for Rolling Stone – Neil Young has launched a new website, GoEarth.org, with the aim of motivating people toward global conservation. The site offers information on earth ecology, banning GMOs, the future of farming, climate change and social causes, among other topics. Taking inspiration from the “Village” of activist organizations that have been traveling with Young on his current tour, the site’s motto is, “It takes a village to keep the free world rockin’.”

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More Than Half Million People Call For Protection Of Monarch Butterfly

More than half a million people called on the government to protect the monarch butterfly today, as the public comment period on protecting monarchs under the Endangered Species Act closed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has nine months to determine whether to propose protections for the iconic orange and black butterfly which has declined by 90 percent in the last 20 years. The agency’s review of the monarch was spurred by a legal petition filed in August by the Center for Food Safety, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower, all of whom submitted comments today renewing their call for the agency to list the monarch butterfly as threatened. In December the Service announced a positive initial finding on the petition and determined that Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies may be warranted, triggering a one-year status review. The petition has been resoundingly supported by monarch experts, legislators, and the public.

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