The Importance of Undeveloping for Wildlife
Citing decline in the popularity of golf, I recently read a news report in the Prince William Times (VA) about a golf course becoming a new forest — undeveloping for wildlife. This made me think of my work with Wildlife Corridors LLC (WC), an un-developer of a bankrupt subdivision in southern Arizona.
What is an Un-developer?
Originally the plan called for 197 homes spread across 1100 acres, including 900 acres of a critical wildlife corridor. With help from Biophilia Foundation, WC raised funds to buy the platted lots from the bank that had re-possessed them. Alternatively, WC will cluster 24 lots a half mile away from the corridor. Instead of being home to homes, the corridor will continue to support populations of bear, coyote, mountain lion, and many other wildlife. In particular, this thin corridor connecting large acreages of BLM land with Forest Service land has seen several of the few remaining jaguars north of Mexico.
Undeveloping for Wildlife Increases Survival
Removing habitat from wildlife through development is like the sheriff coming and throwing you out of your home. Now you try to establish a new home where someone else is living. We know how that goes. Perhaps worse is removing corridors through which wildlife and their genes flow. The math works out that unless there are at least several hundred of the species, the number of surviving but isolated creatures will not survive. This causes a suffering slow decline of each generation without the arrival of fresh genes.
Creating Wildlife Corridors on a Continental Scale
Wildlands Network (wildlandsnetwork.org), a grantee of Biophilia Foundation, is working with scores of local groups and individuals to create and maintain wildlife corridors on a continental scale to ensure that migrating wildlife can safely get to where they are going for generations to come. This work includes buying lands, establishing conservation easements, and working on diverse state and federal policy initiatives such as providing funds to build wildlife over and under passes of roads and introducing a bill in Congress (The National Wildlife Corridor Act) to make sure that, along with our human needs for various development projects, the needs of wildlife are also respected.
Forthcoming blogs will highlight other significant work accomplished by our many partners. Their work restores and conserves the biodiversity we love and depend upon. If these actions seem important to you, perhaps donating funds to support these ongoing efforts is something to consider. You can either donate directly to our grantees or support these projects through Biophilia Foundation; 100% of donated funds are sent to our incredible partners and their work. Plus, 100% of your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed.
Richard has been the President of Biophilia Foundation since its inception in 1999. A native of Phoenix, AZ, he grew up in the open desert spaces alongside lizards, snakes, coyotes, & javelinas. These early experiences with wildlife led him to his career in conservation biology. He has had the opportunity to work for and volunteer with organizations such as the Trust for Public Land, Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, Wildlands Network, & Borderlands Restoration Network. Richard received his doctorate at Prescott College.