The importance of wilderness

“Wilderness areas act as a buffer against species loss, as the extinction risk for species within wilderness communities is—on average—less than half that of species in non-wilderness communities.” 1

A recent study published in the Journal Nature titled “Wilderness Areas Half The Extinction Risk of Terrestrial Biodiversity” mapped several locations around the world where maintaining wilderness areas should be a priority. The first statement the authors make in the abstract in this paper really hit the nail on the head for me.

“Reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss is a major challenge facing humanity, as the consequences of biological annihilation would be irreversible for humankind. 1

In this single sentence the authors make clear that the steady march of human activity, as currently, conducted could potential be catastrophic to all life on earth.

“Wilderness areas act as a buffer against species loss, as the extinction risk for species within wilderness communities is—on average—less than half that of species in non-wilderness communities.” 1

The paper points to several locations on the plant especially important to protect yet the authors also state that all wilderness areas have intrinsic conservation value thus we can all play a role by supporting local conservation efforts of wilderness area near to each of us. Below we showcase a few wilderness area we have recently spent time in. They are both beautiful as well as safe havens for biodiversity.

Click any photo for slide show.

Absoroka-Beartooh and Lee Metcalf wilderness areas.

References:

1. Reference: Di Marco, M., Ferrier, S., Harwood, T.D. et al. Wilderness areas halve the extinction risk of terrestrial biodiversity. Nature 573, 582–585 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1567-7

For a short summary of the article visit Science daily.

A couple of groups that support the missions of wilderness as a buffer for biological diversity are:
The Wilderness Society
The Half-Earth Project

Like fingers

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A wonderful and unusual fungus growing like fingers from the earth along the path of  old tree decomposing lying just below the earths surface.

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There were several cluster each with a wonderful beauty that made us ponder life myriad forms. Each form with a place and each important to the whole.

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The diversity of life is natures greatest gift.

A Pikas Song

One of my favorite animals to inhabit the alpine tundra and one I always think of as summer turns to fall is the American Pika. Scurrying about above the tree-line diligently gathering vegetation to stock their winter larder. The Pika is adapted to live year-round in the harsh alpine environment. However tough they may be climate change poses a significant danger to the continued existence of the Pika and in the lower regions of North America have already lost up to 1/3 of their previous habitat to climate change.

It would be a sad day indeed if a hike through the alpine tundra was devoid of a pikas song.