WASHINGTON – “The administration has outlined a generational commitment to address our nation’s most urgent conservation challenges,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy, National Audubon Society. “We all want to leave our communities healthier than we found them, and birds – the proverbial canary in the coal mine - are telling us that they are in trouble, which means so are we. This plan will help bring birds and nature back and include all of us in the decisions on how we restore and conserve the lands and waters we share.”
The Biden administration released a roadmap today to achieve several of the conservation commitments made in the early days following the president’s inauguration, including to conserve and restore 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by the year 2030. The new report reflects support for a locally-driven process over the next decade to achieve the “American the Beautiful” vision.
“We are pleased the administration recognizes that achieving this ambitious vision will require a deliberate effort to include groups who have long been excluded from decisions regarding our public lands and waters,” said Sara Brodnax, policy director for public lands at National Audubon Society. “We will also need to recognize the important contributions of working lands and waters to conservation.”
The report sets forward several core principles, including an emphasis on collaboration and inclusivity, support for locally-led efforts, using science as a guide, respecting private property rights, and honoring tribal sovereignty and knowledge.
“Indigenous rights, traditional knowledge, and land stewardship must be built into the conservation plans that come out of this effort, and this report makes an important commitment to that end,” said Greenberger.
Audubon’s Boreal Conservation program in Canada is an example of how to support Indigenous stewardship of the land in an area that is also critical to dozens of species of birds and other animals. Audubon has been working with First Nations communities in Pimachiowin Aki, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to help build climate resilience into the lands that both they and boreal birds need to survive.
Globally, only 9 percent of migratory birds are adequately covered by protected areas across all stages of their annual life cycle. New science has revealed the loss of 3 billion birds in North America since 1970 and that two-thirds of North American birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change.
“Birds depend on intact landscapes and habitats as they migrate thousands of miles across our lands and waters,” said Greenberger. “These areas of importance, also known as migration corridors, are essential to their survival. Audubon’s Migratory Bird Initiative is collecting and compiling new data to understand the places birds need on this perilous journey and their findings should be a part of the Administration's new conservation vision.”
Job creation is another principle mentioned in the report, specifically the opportunity to create jobs through conservation and landscape-scale restoration, such as the civilian conservation corps proposed in the president’s American Jobs Plan as well as in several recent bills filed in Congress.
“Investment in landscape restoration will provide critical support and opportunities to meet the nation’s economic and environmental challenges,” added Greenberger. “This will not only create jobs across the country, but will play a vital role in conserving our lands and waters and building resilience to climate change through nature-based solutions, like living shorelines, wetlands, and sustainable forest management.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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