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How to Mend the Conservation Divide
Conservation used to seem pretty straightforward: set aside tracts of nature and they will take care of themselves. It is not so simple anymore. Nature left unmanaged is changing in surprising ways because of the great and accelerating human influences of what is being called the Anthropocene — the new epoch of climate change, species movements and global-scale land-use change. Today, keeping nature functioning the way it did before the Industrial Revolution requires increasingly hard and expensive work.

“New conservationists” have been shaking up the field, proposing new approaches that break old taboos — moving species to new ranges in advance of climate change, intervening in designated wilderness areas, using nonnative species as functional stand-ins for those that have become extinct, and embracing novel ecosystems that spring up in humanized landscapes.

Some “old conservationists” have reacted angrily to this, preferring to keep the focus on protecting wilderness and performing classical restoration that keeps ecosystems as they were hundreds of years ago. Editorials, essays and books have been lobbed back and forth, feathers have been ruffled and conservation groups and government officials have felt pressure from both sides.

The truth is, despite the disagreements, both groups love nature and want to protect it. These seemingly competing alternatives are really complementary parts of the smartest strategy: We should try everything.


 
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Agreement Signed in Fight Against Giant Salvinia - Giant salvinia is a growing problem that affects area waterways, including the Red River. It is one of the most invasive aquatic plants that dominate water bodies by overgrowing and replacing native plants that provide food and habitat for animals and waterfowl.


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