2011 brought plenty of good news for nature lovers everywhere. Here are just a few of the highlights; let’s begin with the U.S.
1. In October, the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the permanent protection of 49 million acres of land.The decision clears the way for the country’s remaining undeveloped national forests to be safeguarded from most commercial logging and road-building.
Photo: Apricot Cafe
2. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new protections from mercury pollution from power plants in December.
Photo: Craig Allen
3. In October, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 376, meaning the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins is banned in California.
4. In Alabama, volunteers worked to restore an oyster reef, bringing back coastal habitat along the Gulf of Mexico, including coastal marsh seagrass, and numerous species of birds and fish.
5. The protection of more than 189,000 acres of Minnesota’s national forests, largely located in the watershed of the Upper Mississippi River, means that drinking water for millions of people will be safe.
And all around the world!
6. The Marshall Islands became home to the world’s largest shark sanctuary, an area of the Pacific Ocean four times the size of California.
Photo Credit: bryan scott photography
8. In Kenya, the Nature Conservancy joined with local partners to create a traditional elephant migration route that had been obstructed by agricultural fences and roads.
Photo: Iravaa Pitthan
9. Australia’s Queensland government took steps to protect one of the world’s last great natural wetlands. Under the Wild Rivers Act, the Cooper’s Creek, Georgina, and Diamantina rivers, whose irregular flooding transforms thousands of square miles of dry outback, will be permanently safeguarded.
10. ICCAT, the international body that manages the $1 billion bluefin tuna fishery in the Atlantic Ocean, established an electronic system to better track where the fish are caught and traded.
Hooray for 2011!
Photo credit: iStock