Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Changes in protected areas from 1892 to 2018. Image: Rachel E. Golden Kroner et al
Rollbacks on Protected Areas Sets a Dangerous Precedent
A protected area is a legally defined geographical space that’s actively managed to protect it in the long term from destructive human activities. These areas are crucial to the conservation of vulnerable species as well as the preservation of places of spiritual importance to indigenous people. However, a recent study published in Science Magazine shows that rollbacks of protected areas in the United States have vastly accelerated over recent decades.
Trump Compounds Historical Trends:From 1944 to 2017, 737 proposals for the downgrading, downsizing or complete stripping of all legal protection of protected areas took place within the United States, with a shocking 90% having occurred in the 2000’s alone. But under the Trump administration, two of the biggest rollbacks in the history of the United States took place in Utah in 2017.
ClimateMitigation and Adaption: Protected areas are crucial to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Over 312 gigatons of carbon – 15% of the global carbon stocks – is stored in protected areas. Protected mountain forests, coastal reefs and other ecosystems buffer human communities against disastrous events and provide a suite of services such as water and agricultural systems.
Why This Matters: The United States is home to the first modern protected areas—Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks—and we’ve historically been a global conservation leader but with these trends of downscaling the fate of our public lands is in jeopardy. Debates on how our public lands should be managed date back to the time of President Teddy Roosevelt, but the Trump administration has taken the stance that their existence isn’t valuable beyond resource extraction.
Walking the Walk: A 2016 Harvard Kennedy School study revealed that more than 93% of respondents across the country said it’s important that historical sites, public lands, and national parks be protected for current and future generations. If that’s the case then we have to vote for candidates who support the protection (and even expansion) of public lands.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Today, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its 2021 Plowprint Report, which tracks the amount of grasslands lost to plow-up each year. This year’s study found that plow-up across the Great Plains has only continued to accelerate, releasing exorbitant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The report concludes that […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer With global temperatures rising and rainfall patterns changing, global agriculture is shifting too — with big changes projected. Places like Siberia and northern Canada that have been too frigid for farming in centuries past are expected to become cropland by the end of the century. But it’s not a […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The National Park Service has closed down a large swathe of Alaska’s Denali National Park after excessive permafrost thawing caused landslide activity near the park’s only access road. The access road is now closed, blocking entry to about half of the park. Park officials say that although there have been landslides in […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.