Good news for those who care

Planting mangroves in Mexico, connecting gibbons in India and tips to boost biodiversity in your very own yard.

Good news for those who care
A Vancouver Island marmot. Photo: Province of British Columbia / Flickr.

Conservation is working. Now let’s do more

Good news can be hard to come by these days, so we were happy to read about a new study that shows that global efforts to support biodiversity really are working.

As reported in Anthropocene, an analysis of 186 different studies and 665 metrics found that almost half of the metrics demonstrated improvement, and an additional one-fifth showed a slow in biodiversity decline.

Even better, conservation scientist Jake Bicknell told the magazine, “Our study shows that when conservation actions work, they really work.” Winning strategies included invasive species removal, sustainable ecosystem management and ecosystem restoration. As for what’s lacking, the scientists said, it’s investment – we need more resources put into programs aimed at stopping biodiversity loss and building more habitat.

You’ll find plenty of inspiration in our articles this month, featuring a tiny community planting mangroves in Mexico and efforts to expand habitat for endangered gibbons in India, plus easy tips to help your own yard support biodiversity even better than it probably already does. And for those who are new to us this year, we’re re-upping our piece on the downside of No-Mow May – more applicable to North America than Europe, but an interesting read for all nonetheless. Plus, our latest book review and some links you’ll appreciate (including another good-news story from Down Under).

Stay wild,

Domini Clark and Kat Tancock, editors

In a forest, a sign reads "wildlife garden"
Photo: Philippa Willitts/Flickr

5 easy ways to boost biodiversity in your yard

Make your property a better wildlife habitat with these simple tips.

A person pointing at mangroves, standing next to a boat in a coastal scene
Photo: Gemina Garland-Lewis

This couple has planted over a million mangroves on Mexico’s Pacific coast

For over a decade, Ana María and David have led their community to restore Mexico’s desert mangroves with dedication, experimentation and plenty of heart.

Two black gibbons with thick white eyebrows perched in a leafy tree
Photo: S_Bala / Flickr

The endangered gibbons who’ve been reunited after 132 years

It took 13 years for this tree-planting project to begin to form a wildlife corridor. Now, the route is expanding territory for western hoolock gibbons and other primate species.

Close-up of a honeybee on a yellow flower, covered in pollen
Photo: OliBac/Creative Commons

The surprising downside of #NoMowMay

Not cutting your lawn and letting dandelions grow for a month is touted as an easy way to help bees. But one-size-fits-all solutions don't work for conservation.

“If you look only at the trend of species declines, it would be easy to think that we’re failing to protect biodiversity, but you would not be looking at the full picture. What we show with this paper is that conservation is, in fact, working.”
– Penny Langhammer, executive vice president of Re:wild, in Anthropocene

Canada is a big country – there’s no dispute about that. So both globally and locally, many people assume that there’s still plenty of space for nature in the Great White North.

And while that might be true in comparison with small, highly nature-depleted countries like the UK, the sad truth is that many species here are in peril – and thanks to Canada’s complex multi-level system of government, there may be more loopholes and gaps in legislation dealing with threatened and endangered species than tools to help protect them.

Cover of the book Signs of Life by Sarah Cox

For those who want to learn more about the challenges facing Canadian wildlife and efforts to help combat them, journalist Sarah Cox’s new book Signs of Life is a welcome and needed guide. In it, Cox journeys across the country to document species in peril and the often monumental (and logic-defying) programs governments have put in place to turn the tide – as well as the unfortunate species slipping through the cracks.

You’ll meet owls being bred at enormous cost while their habitat is simultaneously being logged beyond recognition, and ferrets being cloned in a desperate attempt to broaden their gene pool. You’ll travel to the army bases that have become surprising islands of native habitat in the midst of managed cropland, and to mountainsides where captive-bred marmots spend their first-ever time in the wild. And through it all you’ll gain a fresh understanding of the ways Canada and its provinces are failing in the global fight to support biodiversity – and learn what needs to happen to change things for the better.

We encourage you to borrow Signs of Life from your local library or purchase from an independent bookstore.

Elsewhere in rewilding

The Guardian has a delightful story about how conservation efforts in Wellington, N.Z., have brought vibrant birdsong back to the city. Also: Imagine having penguins living in your yard!

Two takahe walking next to a sign promoting a talk about takahe
Photo: Bob Shand / Flickr

And over in Japan, conservationists are cutting down unwanted conifers as they work to regenerate old plantations into mixed-species forests. 

Eco restoration in Saskatchewan led to Prairie Edge, the latest novel from award-winning Canadian Indigenous author Conor Kerr. He talks about it here.

Good Housekeeping magazine has an interview with eco icon David Attenborough. He talks about his new book and his call for rewilding.

And finally, this month in cute animals: It was a big day for 150 tiny harvest mice as they were released into England’s Perivale Wood, where they have been absent for four decades.  

Close-up of a mouse perched on a branch covered in white flowers
Photo: Charlie Marshall / Flickr

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