viernes, julio 8

Terra Peninsular Essential For Bi-National Conservation

Protecting the ecosystem of North America’s Mediterranean climate zone will require action on both sides of the US-Mexican border. Terra Peninsular seeks to meet that challenge in Mexico.

California-Baja California is one of a mere handful of global locations with a Mediterranean climate of wet winters and long, dry summers. With progressive less rainfall from north to south, this zone has northern California at the top and tapers off below El Rosario in Baja California. Plants and animals are uniquely adapted to these conditions. At least historically, there were lagoons along the Pacific shore, coastal prairies, foothills of coastal sage scrub and chaparral leading up to peninsular mountain ranges, oak woodlands, riparian drainages, and conifers at the highest elevations. The true desert begins on the eastern slopes.

In the 1990s, a host of Southern California species were listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, such as Stephens’ and San Bernardino kangaroo rats, quino checkerspot butterfly, California gnatcatcher, and arroyo toad. The economic ramifications of these listings catalyzed the State of California Natural Community Conservation Planning, or NCCP, program. Partnerships between local, state and federal governments and the private sector resulted in plans for habitat reserves that have been adopted in large parts of the region. The plans also provide “streamlined” mitigation for development impacts.

Similar habitat types – and many of the same species – are also under threat in Baja California. For example, urban development in the greater Tijuana region has cut off wildlife corridors along the more western border. However, the “Las Californias” initiative for cross-border connectivity has identified lands farther to the east in both countries that is now essential to maintain wildlife movement. Along the coast near San Quintin, extensive agricultural conversion has decimated the beautiful maritime succulent scrub community, and preserving remaining tracts is a top priority. Another example of the need for a bi-national focus is the rare Hermes copper butterfly, which is found in chaparral only in San Diego County and in Baja California, and which has been hurt by the increased fire frequency.

Terra Peninsular is a critical partner in what is a globally significant effort to preserve the common ecosystem of the two Californias.

Dan Silver, MD
- Terra Peninsular, A.C.
Board Member, Executive / Development Committee Member.

A physician by training, Dan was born in Los Angeles and attended the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1989, Dan led the effort to preserve the Santa Rosa Plateau in Riverside County. In 1991, after practicing internal medicine for 10 years, he retired to work full time on environmental issues. Dan is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Endangered Habitats League. Since its inception in 1991, Dan saw the organization emerge as a regional leader in conservation and growth management.. In 2004, the American Planning Association California Chapter honored Dan with its Outstanding Distinguished Leadership: Layperson Award.

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