Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I say prairies, you say pastizales

Today I am posting an announcement from a friend at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), which since 1994 has brought Canada, Mexico and the United States together to collaborate in protecting North America's environment through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)--an adjunct to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The announcement, regarding a new focus on grasslands for the Commission, is good news for those of us who want to see our native prairie landscapes and ecologies receive more attention and protection. The following text was written by staff at CEC:

North America’s Central Grasslands stretch from Southern Saskatchewan all the way to Northern Mexico, supporting many rural communities and their economies. Today, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released North American Grasslands Alliance: A Framework for Change, the joint vision of over 70 grasslands experts from across the continent that provides strategies for all actors on the landscape, be it ranchers, conservationists or public agencies, to come together to preserve the continent’s only shared terrestrial ecoregion.  

Over a year and a half, these experts zeroed in on what’s needed to conserve grassland biodiversity while also supporting vibrant rural communities across North America. At the heart of the framework is the understanding that to do so, innovative solutions are needed to meet a broad range of challenges such as conversion to cropland, food security, climate volatility, rapidly declining grassland-dependent species, and uncertain economic returns. These challenges are complex and their solutions often require cooperation from diverse actors at multiple geographic and time scales. 

Thankfully, the integrated planning and management approach of the North American Grasslands Alliance framework is illustrated in a simplified graph featured in the report. This makes it easy for any individual or organization to see how their actions can help sustain North America’s grasslands as environmentally healthy and productive ecosystems, engage the public and institutional support needed to build momentum for grasslands conservation, or increase the awareness of the ecological and economic values of sustainable grasslands. Indeed, the goal of the report is to spur greater stewardship of the North American grasslands, “as part of a collective voice and strong alliance”.

Using this framework to guide its work, the CEC is pursuing its grasslands focus through their 2013-2014 Catalyzing North American Grasslands Conservation and Sustainable Use through Partnerships project. 

The full CEC report can found here.

More information on the Commission for Environmental Cooperation can be found here.

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