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Natural ecosystems, such as this wetlands, provide habitat for an array of wildlife species.
A pilot program is underway to resource management efforts around address coastal sage scrub, a habitat natural ecological regions or bioregions. type supporting several potentially The first major activity of the effort was endangered or threatened species, a report released in 1992 on the Sierra including the California gnatcatcher. bioregion. The Sierra Report, based on Private landowners have agreed to fore- a broad public outreach effort, constall development on 141,000 acres, tained 18 recommendations for increassome of which contains coastal sage ing public understanding of the effects scrub, for an 18-month period, while of human activities on the bioregion. final conservation plans are developed. The effort involved local communities During this period, public land-use and in decisionmaking and recognized the regulatory agencies will increase their linkage between environmental and discretionary review of projects on 1.1 economic concerns. million acres, containing 210,000 acres or 53 percent of the identified sage Every Species Counts scrub habitat. Development of the con
The USDA Forest Service has servation plans involves landowners, adopted landscape and ecosystem local governments, and state and federal approaches to managing habitat for 230 wildlife agencies.
threatened or endangered species. In
1992 the agency surveyed 1 million California Bioregions
acres for threatened, endangered, and The State of California, in coopera- sensitive species (a Forest Service destion with federal agencies, began a ignation). The agency is preparing groundbreaking effort in 1991 to reori- species management guides for the 50 ent existing environmental and natural states, in conjunction with such groups
as The Nature Conservancy, which assist with inventory, data management, and development of conservation strategies. Examples of activities during 1992 follow.
• Release of two captive-bred California condors and two Andean condors into historic condor habitat in California; • Placement of 450 nest boxes for the hurricane-ravaged red-cockaded woodpecker in South Carolina national forests, which contributed to a 9-percent increase in woodpecker populations; • Careful use of fire to restore specialized forest ecosystems, such as southern pine stands that host redcockaded woodpeckers, tallgrass prairie in Illinois, and mountain golden heather in North Carolina; and • Development in the Southwest of management guidelines for the northern goshawk, adopting an ecosystem approach that benefits other species as well.
Pacific Salmon and Steelhead Conservation
In 1992 the USDA Forest Service initiated a strategy to provide an ecological approach to managing salmon and steelhead habitat in western national forests. The strategy will identify and implement measures that contribute to the sustained natural production of salmon and steelhead stocks, possibly precluding the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The Forest Service is coordinating development and implementation of the strategy with other fish management agencies and conservation groups.
Biodiversity and NEPA
In 1992 CEQ, with support from EPA and the departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, and Transportation, completed a series of conferences on ways to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem management into analyses prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A CEQ report will outline recommendations for accomplishing this objective.
Bring Back the Natives!
Non-indigenous (exotic) species have invaded or been introduced to many areas of the country, where they often disturb natural ecosystems. In 1992 the Forest Service, BLM, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (a Congressionally chartered nonprofit organization) cooperated on 18 Bring Back the Natives projects. This national effort attempts to restore the health of entire stream systems and their native aquatic species, including fish, mollusks, and plants. On public lands, restoration of entire watersheds can make a critical difference in the recovery and conservation of vulnerable species.
Biodiversity on Private Lands
Since the majority of lands in the United States are in private ownership, any national strategy to conserve biodiversity must find ways to encourage conservation actions by private landowners. In 1992 the President's Commission on Environmental Quality (PCEQ) undertook an initiative to develop best practices for integrating biodiversity considerations into private land management decisionmaking. The initiative involves case studies of 16 demonstration projects proposed by private firms, ranging from 100 acres on a suburban Philadelphia corporate campus to 280,000 acres of a forested and mixed-use watershed on the coast of Washington state. A PCEQ report will present case studies and best practice recommendations along with outreach materials that offer guidance for private landowners.
International Trade in Endangered Species
The eighth conference of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) took place in Japan in March 1992. Delegates agreed to continue the African elephant's listing on Appendix I, which bans all trade in ivory. They discussed the listing of commodity species such as blue fin tuna and several tropical timber species, including varieties of mahogany. Although blue fin tuna was not listed, several varieties of mahogany were, and delegates agreed to reevaluate the scientific criteria for CITES listing.
In 1992 the Congress, with the support of the Bush administration, enacted new legislation to facilitate U.S. implementation of decisions and resolutions under CITES with regard to exotic birds. The new legislation authorizes regulation of imports of exotic wild birds, whose populations may be adversely affected by trade. It also authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to support wild bird management efforts in other nations.
Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, which calls upon signatories to establish protected areas to conserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as habitats for threatened and endangered species.
Neotropical Migratory Birds
Partners in Flight/Aves de las Americas is a cooperative program that involves state, federal, and international agencies and conservation organizations. It is the first integrated program for research, monitoring, and habitat management for migratory birdsneotropical migrants-that breed in North America and migrate to Latin and South America during the northern winter. In 1992 the program sponsored a national workshop on the status of such birds as the indigo bunting, scarlet tanager, and many species of warblers and the effect of land-use practices on their long-term survival. Initiatives focused on bird population management, habitat monitoring, habitat improvement, training, and public education.
Caribbean Regional Treaty
In 1992 the Bush administration sent to the Senate for ratification the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife. This protocol builds upon general obligations outlined in the Convention for the Protection and
The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program aims to conserve and protect habitats and associated biological communities necessary to sustain living marine resources. It also provides opportunities for research. In 1992 Monterey Bay off the central California coast and the Florida Garden Banks off the Texas-Louisiana border were added to the National Marine Sanctuary system. These additions brought the number of marine sanctuaries to 13 and more than doubled the size of the system.
and the Biosphere Program (MAB) has initiated interdisciplinary research on ecosystem sustainability in biosphere reserves in New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida. In 1992 UNESCO designated The Land Between the Lakes, a demonstration area for integrated management in Kentucky and Tennessee administered by the Tennessee Valley Authority, as the forty-seventh U.S. biosphere reserve. A Biosphere Reserves Integrated Monitoring Program (BRIM), launched under the auspices of EuroMAB, is promoting cooperation among European and North American biosphere reserves. Among the first BRIM efforts is documentation of biodiversity in the reserves.
Estuarine Research Reserves
The goal of the National Estuarine Research Reserves Program is to establish and manage a system of estuarine research areas representative of the various U.S. biogeographical regions and estuarine types. In 1992 the AshepooCombahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin and North Inlet/Winyah Bay reserves were designated in South Carolina, bringing the total number of reserves to 21.
Research Natural Areas
Research natural areas (RNA) are areas of forest, range, aquatic, geologic, alpine, shrubland, and grassland vegetation set aside for nonmanipulative research, study, monitoring, and education. In 1992 the Forest Service reviewed 300 sites for addition to the system. Established in 1927, the RNA program now encompasses 290 sites and 250,000 acres.
Federal agencies have undertaken a number of initiatives to inform the public and to train professional staffs on the principles of biodiversity conservation.
National Park Service. NPS has launched a national program to promote public awareness of biodiversity management issues and the value of biodiversity to human societies. In 1992 efforts included a comprehensive manual for interpreters and a range of media used in educational programs at many national parks and monuments.
Forest Service. The Forest Service Natural Resource Conservation Education program supports lifelong learning about natural resources and ecosystems, their interrelationships, conservation, use, management, and value to society. In 1992, the program's first full year, the Forest Service committed $2.5 million to 150 education projects, including the following: development of curricula for elementary and secondary schools; use of national forests and grasslands as
Biosphere reserves provide a framework for regional and international cooperation in biodiversity conservation and research. The U.N./U.S. Man
living classrooms; support for individual teachers; events promoting environmental awareness; and development of local and statewide strategic plans for conservation education. Through partnerships with other federal, state, and local agencies, schools, and private industry, the Forest Service was able to double funding for biodiversity education.
Bureau of Land Management. BLM, along with other federal agencies, held the first session of a field training course that applies principles of ecosystem management to field activities to conserve biodiversity.
Theory and Practice,” in Sacramento, California. Public and private organizations, including a number of federal agencies, were cosponsors. The symposium, attended by 400 people from 12 countries, had the following objectives:
• Document case examples of bio-
In July 1992 the USDA Forest Service held an international symposium, "Biodiversity in Managed Landscapes: