Some suggestions for keeping national wildlife refuges healthy and whole
Abbreviated Journal Title
Nat. Resour. J.
BIOLOGICAL INTEGRITY; ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY; UNITED-STATES; CONSERVATION; DIVERSITY; FOREST; INDEX; BIODIVERSITY; BIOGEOGRAPHY; RESILIENCE; Environmental Studies; Law
National wildlife refuges have a biological conservation mandate surpassing that of any other category of public land in the United States. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 forged a statutory requirement to maintain the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of refuges, Yet, considerably more guidance from science is needed if this mandate is to be interpreted in a scientifically defensible and biologically conservative manner. After evaluation of the extent to which well-accepted goals and principles of conservation biology are reflected in the wildlife refuge system mandate and in the actual design and management of refuges, it is evident that connections of refuges and other reserves across regional landscapes and better integration of refuge management with surrounding land uses are needed to enhance the conservation mission of refuges. A careful interpretation of biological (or ecological) integrity, biodiversity, and health in establishing policies for refuges and in indicator selection, monitoring, and adaptive management is essential. Integrity, the broadest of the three concepts invoked in the new mandate, incorporates notions of wholeness (or intactness or completeness), resistance to stress, and resilience - the capacity to bounce back after a disturbance. Measuring the position and movement of refuges along a complex gradient Of relatively pristine to highly degraded requires well-selected indicators and a rigorous monitoring design. Finally, the spirit of the new mandate can be fully realized only when managers and policy makers embrace the land ethic of Aldo Leopold and are willing and able to think bigger in space, time, and ambition.
Natural Resources Journal
Article; Proceedings Paper
"Some suggestions for keeping national wildlife refuges healthy and whole" (2004). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 4616.