lunes, noviembre 7

A wandering mountain lion highlights the importance of Terra Peninsular’s work at the edge of two Californias

The Peninsular Ranges extend 1,500 km from Southern California to the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, forming a granitic spine near the western edge of the North American continent.  They comprise an intact and rugged wilderness area connecting two countries and some of the richest montane and desert ecosystems in the world, supporting iconic species such as the mountain lion, California condor, golden eagle, and bighorn sheep.  Connectivity at this continental scale is critical to protecting not only biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and wildlife movement, but also clean water, clean air, recreational open space, and wilderness values of parklands in both countries.  The importance of this connection recently was highlighted by the tracks of one of The Nature Conservancy’s GPS-collared mountain lions:  he roamed from the Laguna Mountains in San Diego County to Parque Nacional Constitucion de 1857 and back (see map)!  He reminded us how conservation must work across large landscapes, despite international borders. 

Terra Peninsular is working with partners in both Californias, including local ejidatarios, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, to conserve >800,000 ha of land in the Sierra de Juarez and Sierra de San Pedro Mártir.  This is an enormous challenge in the face of a growing population of more than 6 million people, border security infrastructure, and industrial-scale renewable energy development projects that threaten to sever the ecological and cultural connections between the two Californias.  Terra’s work will ensure that development and economic opportunities in this region also respect the region’s irreplaceable conservation values, while improving quality of life for all Baja Californians.  For example, the watersheds of the Sierra Juarez and Sierra San Pedro Mártir support agriculture in the Valle de Guadalupe and the Valle de San Quintín, respectively, and they provide clean water for large human populations on the Pacific Coast.  Coniferous forests at the highest elevations of this linkage are important carbon sinks, sequestering large amounts of greenhouse gases. 

Please help Terra to protect this cultural and biological crossroads of unique natural beauty, so that our human and wildlife communities remain healthy for future generations.

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