Strategic land conservation (land acquisition and stewardship/ecological management) has literally never been more important or more beneficial, to all living things – people most especially included.
Benefits to Human Health
It has long been understood that conserved land provides cleaner air and drinking water. More recently, studies have documented what we all intuitively experience when spending time in a natural setting – the direct benefits to human health are very extensive, both in depth and breadth.
But recent events have put land conservation into a different realm of importance entirely. Protecting key lands is now recognized as being a lead strategy in blunting the impacts of climate change. The recently released report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides strong validation for the overriding priority of strategic land conservation, both now and in the important years ahead.
Blunting the Impacts of Climate Change
At Mass Audubon, we are striving to be at the forefront, fully employing climate change response strategies in our land conservation efforts. Actually, we have been doing that for much of the last decade.
Projects like the creation and protection of the Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Plymouth, where strategies to help nature and people be more resilient to the impacts of climate change are on display. Or other efforts, such as establishing the Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in the Great Marsh, where upland areas abutting existing current marsh are now set aside to accommodate saltmarsh migration as the sea rises – giving that uber-important ecosystem a fighting chance going forward. An example of a current project in progress with tremendous climate change response relevance is the Bear Hole Landscape conservation effort. Climate change response is also central to our multi-year effort to protect a heavily used wildlife corridor between our Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Northampton/Easthampton and other protected lands located to the west.
Given the urgency, more actions are needed at all levels in response to climate change. Mass Audubon is advancing impactful actions now, rather than waiting for others to act. Please consider helping us do more at this important juncture. Our brand of land conservation has never been needed more. Land conservation can, and will, make the future in a climate changing world better, both for people and for plants and animals.
Bob Wilber, Director of Land Conservation