What is the Common Agenda?
Every year the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) releases a briefing book entitled Our Common Agenda. The briefing combines the policy agendas of over 100 organizations across Virginia to form one, concise compilation of conservation goals. The agenda aims to address the most pressing conversation issues with realistic statewide policies. The VCN recently released the 2020 edition of Our Common Agenda, which includes input directly from Wild Virginia
How is Wild Virginia Involved?
This year Wild Virginia helped write a paper with for the briefing book about habitat connectivity. We were honored to help work on this paper because habitat connectivity is a core focus at Wild Virginia. The paper explains the need for increased connectivity in our Commonwealth, outlines the negative effects of fragmented habitats, and shows the benefits of more connected areas. Then, a solution is proposed. The paper suggests establishing a group of experts to analyze potential wildlife corridors in Virginia and creating a strategy that would best protect those wildlife corridors.
How Can You Support Our Common Agenda?
If you are interested in looking further into the briefing book, it is available to download here. Many of the papers outline specific ways you can help contribute to conservation in Virginia.
Wild Virginia is excited to announce that the new website for Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance’s (ABRA) Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) program is up and running! The purpose of the CSI is “to support citizen efforts to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations in the event the pipeline goes forward.” Wild Virginia is a proud member of ABRA.
The website contains information about how volunteers can become involved in the program. Furthermore, there are examples of non-compliance issues and numerous technical resources, including the unique CSI mapping system. The mapping system uses photos and images taken from planes flying over the pipeline route. Users can manipulate the map to find out more about land ownership, karst, and more along the route. Volunteer pilots who are passionate about stopping the pipeline fly the planes that gather the images.
If you have any questions about the website, please direct them to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morgan Kurst, University of Virginia
Forest Conservation as Climate Protection
The recent report Forest Defense is Climate Defense from Oregon Wild links the practice of logging forests with greenhouse carbon emissions. According to the report, logging old-growth forests releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, and planting new trees after logging still creates “carbon debt.” It takes decades for the new trees to store the same amount of carbon that the old trees did. In other words, “planting trees” isn’t a sufficient forest conservation strategy. To solve this climate issue, Oregon Wild recommends two strategies:
- Modernizing logging laws with climate-smart practices.
- Permanently protecting remaining old-growth forests and encouraging forest restoration on public lands.
The graphic below depicts the fate of carbon during forest logging. After a tree is logged, the stump only retains 15% of the initial carbon storage.
Where do we come in?
Wild Virginia believes our forests should be managed to provide clean drinking water, clean air, wilderness, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities for the public. We teamed up with some of our partner groups in our recent Stand 4 Forests campaign to address forest conservation. The campaign argues that the US must immediately scale up forest protection, restore degraded forests, reduce consumption, and transition to clean, renewable energy before it is too late. Recommendations include:
- Expanding permanently protected lands and protect public lands from commercial logging and other harmful activities.
- Reducing emissions from the forestry sector and expanding the US forest carbon sink as a major climate strategy.
- Investing in forest protection as a resiliency and adaptation strategy for communities vulnerable to pollution and climate change.
It’s always exciting to discover different groups coming to a consensus on a solution. We know we are on the right track, so what’s the next step in guaranteeing forest conservation? How are we going to save our wild spaces and protect our climate?
You can help today by endorsing our Stand 4 Forests campaign and voting on November 6th for candidates who support our forests.