Explanation of the Biodiversity Treaty and the Wildlands Project

By Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D.
for Property Rights.org

posted 9/13/03

This map is based on the strategy and procedures laid out in what is known as the Wildlands Project and the UN/US Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB). Both are based on the need of protecting biological diversity using core wilderness reserves which are surrounded by buffer zones that variably regulate human activity to protect the attributes of the core reserves (see below). Areas not included in core reserves or buffer zones are zones of cooperation where regulations are designed to favor biodiversity and ecosystems.

The Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, The Seville Agreement for the MAB Program, and the Strategic Plan for the USMAB all state the MAB Program is designed to help implement the Convention on Biological Diversity, a treaty currently before the US Senate for ratification. Likewise, Section of the United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment defines the Wildlands Project as the basis for preserving biodiversity for the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Wildlands Project is based on the science of conservation biology and was developed by Dr. Michael Soule, co-founder and first president of the Society For Conservation Biology; Dr. Reed Noss, current editor for the journal of Conservation Biology; and David Foreman, co-founder and long-time leader of Earth First!

The science of conservation biology was largely created by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The IUCN is an accredited UN advisor and is comprised of government agencies and NGOs (non-governmental organizations). These include the EPA, US Forest Service, US National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Society for Conservation Biology, and many others. The IUCN is also one of the primary promoters and : developers of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This perhaps explains why the US Government and environmental organizations appear to be working in concert to implement the Wildlands Project and Biodiversity Treaty even though the treaty has not been ratified.

This map is drawn under the supervision of a PhD. in Ecology, and follows instructions provided by the Wildlands Project, the UN/US MAB, and the rapidly increasing control within US counties through the UN/US Heritage programs. This is especially true for counties having federal land, particularly in the Western US. The map incorporates, when available, actual maps as well as a multitude of government and environmental literature demanding various reserves or national parks interconnected with corridors.


"Conservation must be practiced on a truly grand scale," claims Reed Noss. And grand it is. Taken from the article, "The Wild- lands Project: Land Conservation Strategy" in the 1992 special issue of Wild Earth, Noss provides the whopping dimensions of this effort.

Core reserves are wilderness areas that supposedly allow biodiversity to flourish. "It is estimated," claims Noss, "that large carnivores and ungulates require reserves on the scale of 2.5 to 25 million acres.... For a minimum viable population of 1000 [large mammals], the figures would be 242 million acres for grizzly bears, 200 million acres for wolverines, and 100 million acres for wolves. Core reserves should be managed as roadless areas (wilderness). All roads should be permanently closed."

Corridors are "extensions of reserves. .. Multiple corridors interconnecting a network of core reserves provide functional redundancy and mitigate against disturbance.... Corridors several miles wide are needed if the objective is to maintain ( resident populations of large carnivores."

Buffer zones should have two or more zones "so that a gradation of use intensity exists from the core reserve to the developed a landscape. Inner zones should have low road density (no more than 0.5 mile/square mile) and low-intensity use such as...hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, primitive camping, wilderness hunting and fishing, and low-intensity silviculture (light selective cutting).


While this effort has a noble mission, the implications are staggering. As noted in the June 25, 1993 issue of Science, it "is nothing less than the transformation of Americato an archipelago of human-inhabited islands surrounded by natural areas. " According to the Wildlands Project, "One half of the land area · of the 18 conterminous [united] states be encompassed in core [wilderness] reserves and inner corridor zones (essentially extensions of core reserves) within the next few decades....One Half of a region in wilderness is a reasonable guess of what it will take to restore viable populations of large carnivores and natural disturbance regimes, assuming that most of tire other 50 percent is i managed intelligently as buffer zone" (Noss, 1992) If fully implemented, the Convention On Biological Diversity would to have to displace millions of people through unacceptable : regulations, nationalization of private land, and forcing people to : move out of core reserve areas and inner buffer zones. It would - seriously reduce the production of agriculture, forest, and mining products. In the process, millions of Americans could lose their jobs. In turn, the resulting scarce resources means the rest of us I are going to pay double and triple for these products. : This may sound insane, but it's either being planned or implemented right now across America. Land is being condemned or zoned in reserves, corridors or buffer zones under a variety of names to reestablish or protect biodiversity and/or specific species. Should these quasi-religious theories and pseudo-science - determine our future?


What science is really showing is that there is no clear evidence : that reserves and corridors work or are even needed. Rather, good I forest management, including the use of clearcutting, enhances biodiversity and sustainability:

"The theory has not been properly validated and the practical value of biogeographic principles for conservation remains unknown. ... The theory provides no special insights relevant to conservation." Zimmerman, B.L and R.O. Biergaard. 1986 Journal o/ Biogeography 13:133-143

The theory behind the need for reserves and corridors is being "increasingly heavily criticized...as inapplicable to most of nature, largely because local population extinction was not demonstrated." Simberlof, D. J. Farr, J. Cox. and D. Mehlman 1992. "Movment Corridors: Conservation Bargains or Poor Investment?" Conservation Biology 6(4):495.

"No unified theory combines genetic, demographic, and other forces threatening small populations, nor is their accord on the relative importance of these threats." Ibid.

"There are still few data, and many widely cited reports are unconvincing.... [The theory that reserves and corridors] "facilitate movement is now almost an article of faith."ibid.

"Studies that have been frequently cited as illustrating corridor use for faunal movement, do not, in fact, provide clear evidence." Of those that do support the need for corridors, wooded fence rows are adequate for many species, while only a few require well vegetated strips. Hobbs. R.J. 1992. The Role of Corridors in Conservation: Solution or Bandwagon" Tree 7(11):389

The science used in the Convention on Biological Diversity does not work and may actually reduce biodiversity. The implications of this treaty are enormous and must be thoroughly reviewed before it is considered for ratification.


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