Rewilding North America: A Vision For Conservation In The 21St Century

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  • About Island PressIsland Press is the only nonprofit organization in the United States whose princi-pal purpose is the publication of books on environmental issues and naturalresource management. We provide solutions-oriented information to profession-als, public officials, business and community leaders, and concerned citizens whoare shaping responses to environmental problems.

    In 2004, Island Press celebrates its twentieth anniversary as the leadingprovider of timely and practical books that take a multidisciplinary approach tocritical environmental concerns. Our growing list of titles reflects our commit-ment to bringing the best of an expanding body of literature to the environmen-tal community throughout North America and the world.

    Support for Island Press is provided by the Agua Fund, Brainerd Foundation,Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Educa-tional Foundation of America, The Ford Foundation, The George Gund Foun-dation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation,The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Andrew W. MellonFoundation, The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, National EnvironmentalTrust, The New-Land Foundation, Oak Foundation, The Overbrook Founda-tion, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, TheRockefeller Foundation, The Winslow Foundation, and other generous donors.

    The opinions expressed in this book are those of the author(s) and do not nec-essarily reflect the views of these foundations.

  • Rewilding North America

  • Rewilding North AmericaA Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century

    dave foreman

    Island PressWashington Covelo London

  • Copyright 2004 Dave Foreman

    All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Nopart of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission inwriting from the publisher: Island Press, 1718 Connecticut Ave., Suite 300, NW, Washing-ton, DC 20009.

    ISLAND PRESS is a trademark of The Center for Resource Economics.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data.

    Foreman, Dave, 1946-Rewilding North America : a vision for conservation in the 21st century / Dave Foreman.

    p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 1-55963-060-4 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 1-55963-061-2 (pbk. : alk. paper)1. Wilderness areasNorth America. 2. Biological diversity conservationNorth

    America. 3. Extinction (Biology)North America. I. Title. QH77.N56F66 2004333.9516097dc22

    2004002132

    British Cataloguing-in-Publication data available.

    Printed on recycled, acid-free paper

    Design by Brighid Willson

    Manufactured in the United States of America10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  • TO MICHAEL SOUL AND DOUG TOMPKINSfor blazing the trail to 21st century conservation

  • Contents

    List of Maps xi

    Acknowledgments xiii

    Introduction 1

    PART I. BAD NEWS 91. The Extinction Crisis 11

    2. The Pleistocene-Holocene Event: Forty ThousandYears of Extinction 25

    3. The First Wave 31

    4. The Second and Third Waves 45

    5. Ecological Wounds of North America 1: Direct Killing and Habitat Loss 61

    6. Ecological Wounds of North America 2: Fragmentation, Loss of Ecological Processes, Exotic Species, Pollution, and Climate Change 87

    PART II. GOOD NEWS 1097. Conservation Biology 111

    8. Rewilding North America 128

    ix

  • 9. Selecting and Designing Protected Areas: The Early Days 144

    10. Selecting and Designing Protected Areas: The PastTwo Decades 157

    11. The Importance of Wilderness Areas 168

    PART III. TAKING ACTION 177

    12. Putting the Pieces Together: Building a North American Wildlands Network 179

    13. An Ecological Approach to Wilderness Area Selectionand Design 191

    14. Land Management Reforms for Implementing the North American Wildlands Network 202

    15. Hope for the Future 223

    For More Information 231

    Notes 233

    Index 281

    About the Author 00

    x Contents

  • List of Maps

    8.1. The Four Continental MegaLinkages 138

    8.2. Pacific and Spine of the Continent MegaLinkages showingwildlands complexes 140

    10.1. Sky Islands Wildlands Network and classes of units 166

    12.1. New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network with priority barriers 180

    15.1. Endangered Linkages in the Spine of the Continent MegaLinkage 226

    xi

  • Acknowledgments

    Since 1972 I have been blessed with mentors and coworkers of the firstrank. My ideas and strategies have been sparked and shaped in thesmithy of these friendships. I could never begin to tally all the folks whohave contributed to my conservation thinking, so I wont try. I will onlyhighlight a few who have made a particular contribution to RewildingNorth America.

    I have dedicated Rewilding North America to two conservation vision-aries and doers who have shaped the foundation for effective conserva-tion in this new century. Michael Soul, the father of conservationbiology, has perhaps done more than any other individual to bringtogether scientists and citizen conservationists to defend and rewild thediversity of wild nature. He has also brought uncompromising, fearlessvision to the science of conservation biology. Michael has influenced memore than anyone else has.

    Doug Tompkins is no scientist, but he is a marketing and designgenius who throughout the 1990s has used his wealth to fund the mosthard-charging conservation groups through his Foundation for DeepEcology. He has also set a new benchmark of wildlands philanthropythrough his awe-inspiring work in buying and preserving the wildest pri-vate lands in Chile and Argentina. He and his wife Kris now are protect-ing private lands in Argentinas Patagonia as newly designated nationalparks. Doug has been an inspiration to me and a great backer of my work,including during some of my darker times. His unflinching support hasallowed me to do things I otherwise wouldnt have been able to do.

    Mark Twain wrote that thunder is spectacular and it grabs yourattention, but that it is the lightning that really does the work. I want tohold up four of my closest collaborators over the last three decades asbolts of lightning working effectively behind the scenes without a lot of

    xiii

  • thundering notoriety. Their wise counsel and hard work have not onlyadvanced conservation on many fronts but have also made my thunderfar more effective. David Johns, Bob Howard, John Davis, and NancyMorton have supported me and worked with me even at my worst. Idoubt that I would have accomplished very much without their friend-ship, counsel, and backing.

    I have benefited in writing Rewilding North America from havingleading conservationists review and comment on specific chapters. JohnDavis copyedited the manuscript (some chapters through several ver-sions) and vastly improved my prose as he long has. His challengingquestions made my ideas more solid.

    Others who read and commented on one or more chapters are TomButler, Bob Howard, David Johns, Paul Martin, Brian Miller, SusanMorgan, Reed Noss, Brian ODonnell, Dave Parsons, Michael Soul,and John Terborgh. I owe them much gratitude.

    In addition, several of my chapter reviewers and other colleaguesread and commented on material in Rewilding North America as itappeared in my Around the Campfire column in Wild Earth, in otherarticles, or as material in the Sky Islands and New Mexico HighlandsWildlands Networks. They include Matt Clark, Kim Crumbo, KathyDaly, Barbara Dugelby, Jennifer Esser, Andy Holdsworth, JackHumphrey, Leanne Klyza-Linck, Rurik List, Paula MacKay, KurtMenke, Craig Miller, Rod Mondt, Paul Rauber, Todd Schulke, and KimVacariu.

    I thank Kurt Menke and Todd Cummings for preparing the finalmaps. I have been awed by their talents while working with them overrecent years.

    My agent, Joanna Hurley, has toiled for the last several years to getme published and to keep me published. I thank her for how well she hasworked for me. It has been wonderful to have real editors like BarbaraDean and Barbara Youngblood at Island Press. Their encouragementand wise suggestions were key for turning a bunch of text-laden pagesinto a book. And, finally, Id like to thank my copyeditor, Erin Johnson,for the top-notch job she did with the manuscript.

    All of these folks helped to improve the material presented in Rewil-ding North America. Of course, none of them are responsible in any wayfor my mistakes and opinions. My coauthor, Chama, caused all the mis-takes in this book by sitting on my lap while I typed on the keyboard.

    DAVE FOREMANFoothills of the Sandia Mountains

    xiv Acknowledgments

  • Introduction

    From my earliest days, I have been drawn to the heart of wildness, towild lands and wild rivers and wild things, to the places and beasts out-side the rule of humankind. Long before I learned the ancient Englishmeaning of wildernessself-willed landI looked up at the SandiaMountains, rising above the city of Albuquerque, and saw a world wherewe were not masters of all. Long before I had heard of the Beowulf-timeword, wildeorself-willed beastI watched the horny-toads andbluetails scurry through the grama grass and rabbitbrush of the highdesert and knew that they ran their errands on their own time in theirown way, not on human-time or in human-way.

    As I grew older, I began to sense a loss of what was no more, of once-upon-a-time wildernesses and once-upon-a-time wild animals, as I readErnest Thompson Seton and Mark Twain, as I read about Kit Carsonand Buffalo Bill. Unlike many other boys, I did not yearn for the smok-ing buffalo gun in my hands, but