Inspiring networks of wildlands in North America and around the world since 1991
Wildlands Network, formerly Wildlands Project, was created in 1991 when scientists, led by founder and father of conservation biology, Michael Soulé, began to realize none of North America’s protected areas are large enough to sustain wildlife and nature for the long-term. Animals, especially wide-ranging species, need Room to Roam© so they can find a mate, locate food and breed.
We responded to this sobering realization with a solution that would change the face of conservation biology forever. It was called connectivity and the idea behind it was this: if protected areas were connected with new healthy habitats, and if this was done on a large scale, then our life-supporting ecological processes and our treasured native plants and animals could indeed thrive. From this theory grew the field of conservation biology.
Soon to follow was Wildlands Network’s vision of four Wildways, (large corridors for wildlife) spanning North America’s coasts: The Eastern, Western, Pacific and Boreal Wildways. To support this vision, we created scientifically based planning tools, published a timely conservation biology magazine and began our Western Wildway and Eastern Wildway programs in earnest. Today, our science and vision are widely embraced by conservation planners in many countries around the world such as: France, Australia, Romania (picture left) and others.
Implementation of our Wildways is now our urgent and primary focus. Our way forward is leading a collaborative, strategic effort with a growing network of partner organizations and individuals. The blueprints guiding us though the completion of our four Wildways are Widlands Network Gap Analyses: comprehensive maps identifying the gaps between protected areas requiring restoration and protection and the companion gaps in conservation strategy. The result will be a conservation community catalyzed around a single vision of long-term nature protection.
"Although the Wildlands Project's (now Wildlands Network) call for restoring keystone species and connectivity was met, at first, with amusement, these goals have now been embraced broadly as the only realistic strategy for ending the extinction crisis."