The Wildlands Network (formerly known as “Wildlands Project) was created in 1991 to stem the tide of species extinctions that was being recorded across North America. Evidence that such extinctions were often exacerbated by a lack of habitat connectivity between existing protected areas resulted in the organization’s adoption of a primary mission focused on scientific and strategic support for creation of “networks of people protecting networks of connected wildlands.”
Priorities and campaigns
As a demonstration of where large landscape-scale habitat connectivity in North America was most needed, Wildlands Network identified four “Continental Wildways” traversing the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, the Canadian Boreal Forest region, and the “Spine of the Continent” between Alaska and Mexico.
Over the period of 2000-2006, Wildlands Network scientists and associated conservation organizations mapped six regional “Wildlands Network Designs” (WNDs) within those corridors in the Rocky Mountain West and the Northern Appalachians. These conservation plans identified existing protected areas and proposed wildlife corridors that would connect them as pathways for wide-ranging (keystone) species in need of “room to roam.” The plans also described the various positive ecological impacts that these species had on other flora and fauna.
In recent years, Wildlands Network moved from a focus on continued creation of WNDs to guiding implementation of the recommendations in the six existing plans. The organization developed a network of public and private individuals, groups, and agencies working in the regions covered by the WNDs to accomplish this goal. Initiatives currently focus on connecting habitat in the Western (Spine of Continent) and Eastern (Atlantic) Wildways.
- Conservation movement
- Habitat conservation
- Habitat destruction
- Habitat fragmentation
- Environmental protection
- Soulé, M., & Terborgh, J. (1999). Continental Conservation: Scientific foundations of regional reserve networks. Washington: Island Press.
- Foreman, D. (2004). Rewilding North America: A Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century. Washington: Island Press.
- Foreman, D., et al (2000). Sky Islands Wildlands Network Conservation Plan. Tucson: Wildlands Project; Foreman, D., et al (2003). New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network Vision. Albuquerque: Wildlands Project; Miller, B., Foreman, D., et al (2003). Southern Rockies Wildlands Network Vision. Denver: Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project/Wildlands Project; Jones, A., Catlin, J. et al (2004). Heart of the West Conservation Plan. Salt Lake City: Wild Utah Project; Burke, K., Crumbo, K., et al (2006). Grand Canyon Wildlands Network Vision. Flagstaff: Grand Canyon Wildlands Council; Reining, C., Beazley, K., et al (2006). From the Adirondacks to Acadia: A Wildlands Network Design for the Greater Northern Appalachians. Richmond: Wildlands Project.
- Terborgh, J., & Estes, J. (2010). Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey, and the Changing Dynamics of Nature. Washington: Island Press.