Pioneering efforts come to fruition as Global Guidelines for Connectivity Conservation released
The WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group has completed the first ever global guidelines for advancing best practices to protect the interconnections of protected and conserved areas, and restore degraded or fragmented ecosystems.
Photo: Gary Tabor
Photo: Kendra Hoff
Connectivity conservation is recognised by scientists, policy makers, and practitioners as a comprehensive approach for better protecting nature across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. Culminating over 20 years of work at IUCN, these Guidelines for Conserving Connectivity through Ecological Networks and Corridors describe and exemplify innovative tools to support more consistent conservation efforts to combat fragmentation, halt biodiversity loss, and better adapt to climate change. Led by the WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group, and with contributions from more than 100 experts in 30 countries, this publication also provides 25 case studies illustrating a diversity of ways that ecological connectivity is being conserved around the world.
These Guidelines are now publicly available to meet increasing demand for conservation solutions that protect well-connected ecosystems supporting a diversity of ecological functions such as migration, water and nutrient cycling, pollination, seed dispersal, food security, climate resilience, and disease resistance. They introduce common definitions and highlight applications across resource uses, jurisdictions, cultures, and geographies. Furthermore, they address different ecosystems and species, cover varying spatial and temporal scales, and recommend formal designation of ecological corridors to knit together protected and conserved areas.
To inform implementation from global to local levels, these Guidelines establish the terms, principles, and strategies for recognising ecological corridors as key to connecting protected areas, other effective area based conservation measures (OECMs) and other intact ecosystems that achieve ecological networks for conservation. This is supported by drawing together the scientific fundamentals, existing applications, and ongoing innovations that are resulting in more effective conservation planning and management often transcending national boundaries and ecosystems within countries. Above all, these Guidelines take into careful consideration how scalable national and regional measures can be framed, implemented, and in turn contribute to aggregated international accomplishments for conservation, including meeting objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species, and many other global commitments.
Guidelines for Conserving Connectivity through Ecological Networks and Corridors is available online at: https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.CH.2020.PAG.30.en.
Corresponding authors for the Guidelines are:
- Jodi Hilty, President and Chief Scientist at Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Deputy Chair of the IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group
- Annika Keeley, Senior Environmental Scientist at the Delta Stewardship Council
- Gary Tabor, President of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation and Chair of the IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group
- Stephen Woodley, IUCN WCPA Thematic Vice Chair for Science and Biodiversity