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Page 519 PART 9 EXAMPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY
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Page 521 How to Grow a Wildland: The Gardenification of Nature Daniel H. Janzen Joseph Leidy Laboratory, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104 The Bottom-Up View. The first fund-raising flyer, produced in a kitchen and nurtured by The Nature Conservancy and two academics, was titled How to Grow a National Park. Its cover depicted a cowpat with a newly germinated guanacaste tree seedling in the middle. In 1985, fund-raising efforts for tropical conservation centered on the argument that we must buy forest urgently because once it is cut down, it is gone forever. We argued the opposite for tropical dry forest, which once had covered at least half of the forested tropics. Human settlement had eliminated it so thoroughly that the only option was restoration through buying trashed remnants somewhere and restoring a portion that would be large enough to conserve an entire ecosystem. That “somewhere” focused on the 10,000-hectare Santa Rosa National Park in northwestern Costa Rica because we were familiar with it and its biology. The idea survived and grew because the Costa Rican community believed in it and worked for it and because the international community was willing to invest cash and labor to preserve the existence of important tropical nature. In 1989, the idea became the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) (http://www.acguanacaste.ac.cr). The operational word was “restore.” The question was how to severely diminish four centuries of footprints of modern society and let the forest take back its land. We called the process restoration biology and biocultural restoration, but it was also secondary succession, regeneration, regrowth, reforestation, aforestation, farming, ranching, mitigation, recuperation, recovery, rehabilitation, and sustainability.
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Page 522 How could We Restore this Particular Tropical Dry Forest? • Stop the anthropogenic fires. • Restore the size. • Integrate its socioeconomics with those of neighboring areas on all levels. • Stop the ranching, farming, logging, and hunting. • Pay the bills. Stop the Anthropogenic Fires Because this particular tropical dry forest does not have natural fires, we did not have the dilemma of deciding when to let it burn. The lands of the ACG have survived four centuries of clearing of forest and brush by repeated annual to semiannual anthropogenic fires during the 6-month dry season. In 1985, the 120,000 hectares of the ACG contained at least 50,000 hectares of highly inflammable old pastures and brushy fields. Every time a fire passed through it, more woody vegetation was eliminated. However, the general area had not been sufficiently successful to be a thoroughly cleared agroscape. Without fire, the remnants of forest within the open areas would be able to expand to restore the forest. Every farmer and rancher knew this, although biologists and conservationists were more skeptical. Stopping the fires was not a technical issue or a biological question. The methods were straightforward: apply trucks, tractors, pumps, lots of brooms, radios and walkie-talkies, burned firebreaks, and fire lookouts. Rather, stopping the fires was a question of personnel management and motivation. It was a question of being there at 2 a.m. on Easter Sunday when your family and friends are at the beach; of working all night; of maintaining a lookout for 6 months, 24 hours a day. It was a question of working with the neighbors and of having them be the fire crew. Elimination of the fire footprint was achieved by selecting about a dozen locally hired staff, giving them full responsibility, backing their budgetary needs, and giving them the opportunity to invent any schedule or administrationincluding going off site to combat fires on private neighboring land, strongly supporting a regionwide educational program about the value of eliminating fire, and calling on the regional police force and other volunteers when a particular fire got out of hand. The ACG Fire Program and the ACG administration as a whole succeeded. Today, the brushy pastures and interdigitated remnants of dry forest in the ACG are virtually firefree and display at least 40,000 hectares of rapidly regenerating young forest. The seeds arrive by means of water, wind, birds, bats, rodents, ungulates, and carnivores. Restore the Size How big an area would be big enough? Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, part of one of Costa Rica's first ranches, was a 10,600-hectare island in the ghost of the dry forests that once extended from near Mazatlán, Mexico, to southern South America, with some rain forest intermingled here and there. What was that dry
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Page 523 forest is now much of the neotropical agroscape and is clearly unrecoverable. All surviving neotropical dry forests are islands in that agroscape. Santa Rosa was far too small for the survival of its ecological processes and dryforest ecosystemit contained only pieces of drainage basins, small portions of major habitats, and part of the contour, and it was virtually all edge. Also, it was far too small to absorb the many kinds of human footprints that would result from its becoming a local, national, and international garden. In particular, it needed to expand to the wetter east. Much of its more mobile biodiversity (insects and birds) migrates seasonally to the rain forests and cloud forests on and across the mountains to the east and return in the rainy season. The ACG expanded until the dry forest was big enough. The border was not set by biological requirements, but by the reality of social resistance; it stopped where the very profitable portions of the agroscape began. This expansion incorporated other semiconserved islands of wildland (Sector Murcielago, Reserva Forestal Orosi, Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja, and Refugio de Vida Silvestre Isla Bolaños), and all the private lands in betweensome 70 of them, ranging from small farms to large rancheswere purchased from squatters, absentee landlords, and land speculators. On the one hand, this large-scale purchase of land was facilitated greatly by a rapid demise of the region's cattle industry, by the overall low quality of the regional agroscape, by Central American military turmoil, and by the socioeconomic reality that virtually all owners were willing to convert their land into more-profitable ventures elsewhere. Another major contribution was the moderate number of owners who believed that it was highly respectable to have their lands become national park, thus tolerating the minimal prices that the conservation community pays for existence value. On the other hand, buying these private properties and displacing the employees intertwined the ACG inextricably with its neighbors. Houses on the ranches and farms became part of ACG's infrastructure, as did the dwellings of the former employees when they or their neighbors were hired as new ACG staff. The children of these former ranchers, farmers, and employees were among the pupils in the ACG Biological Education Program. ACG staff bought supplies in the local stores. The local decision-makers became members of the ACG's board of directors (Comite Local), a responsibility shared with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the staff of the ACG itself. From the start, the process of building the ACG was intrinsically an act of presence, quite different from an act of gazetting a large pristine wildland as a national park. As the area of the ACG increased, so did the opportunities for its presence and socioeconomic integration. When a vandal sets a fire that burns 2,000 hectares of centuries-old African grass pasture, it is only a thin scar on the ACG landscape now, not the end of a project. If a deer is poached, it often can be shrugged off. When a soccer field or a picnic ground is needed, the land is there; after the schoolchildren in a biology course trample one 10-hectare section, they can trample another section while the first section recuperates. If 20 hectares of pasture is needed for the ACG's work horses, it is there. Does one need to become a biodegrader for 1,000 truckloads of orange peels a year? Build a new road for
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Page 524 management? Put up a wind farm? Host an ecotourism program? Provide seeds for a mahogany-seed farm? Grow a carbon crop? Build a directory on the Internet for 235,000 species? Somewhere in these 120,000 hectares, such footprints may well be absorbable; in only 10,600 hectares, they rarely could be. Today, the expansion of the ACG into the eastern rain forests and cloud forests has become part of the conservation solution to the effect of the drying and heating that the western dry forests of the ACG are suffering through global warming, an outcome that was unforeseen before 1992. During the 22 years of weather recorded in the ACG, 1997 was the driest and hottest year, and the trend continues. The rain forests and cooler cloud forests to the east have been a lifeboat for the dry forest on more than one level. Integrate its Socioeconomics with Those of Neighboring Areas on All Levels The ACG is a 135,000-hectare terrestrial and marine garden that has 120 owner-employees, a US$1.6 million annual operating budget, and 3.3 million stockholders. It operates within the bylaws of incorporation of the state and, more specifically, within those of MINAE. The macroproduce of the ACG is the conservation of the biodiversity of its wildland and ecosystems into perpetuity. The process used to realize this goal is to be a major player in the national and local biodiversity industry, intertwined with the ecosystem industry: biodiversity development, ecosystem development, environmental-services development. All uses leave footprints, but this process calls for the unending quest for uses that are nondamaging. The ACG has come to peace with the reality that 5% of its biodiversity and ecosystems will be sacrificed to guarantee the existence of the remainder. This is the ACG wildland peace treaty that is being negotiated with the agroscape and the urban landscape. Such a socioeconomic integration at the local, national, and international levels is sought through diverse activities. A few examples follow. As the regional cattle industry has died over the last decade, the ACG's biodiversity and ecosystem industries have become part of the economic restoration in the region not only through cash flow, but also through offering relatively ceilingfree and diverse job opportunities that are far more in tune with modern society than were herding livestock and subsistence farming. The small neighboring town of Quebrada Grande is changing rapidly from a shopping center for cowboys to a suburb for the ACG that provides more urban activities. All ACG employees are Costa Rican, and 82% are from the immediate region; 42% are women. All are computerizing, all are networking, and all are exploring this new world of professional responsibility toward a goaland the pain and opportunities these forces bring. Since 1987, the ACG Biological Education Program has taught basic biology in the ACG's wildland habitatsexpanding the responsibility beyond biocultural restoration into bioliteracyto all 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-grade students, and now high-school students, in the vicinity of the ACG. Today, this means 42 schools and more than 2,000 students per year, 22% of the ACG's annual operating bud-
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Page 525 get. It is widely rumored that the ACG has had an easy job because it is imbedded in a “tame populace,” but this tameness was created deliberately. As a result of the restoration of the original forest vegetation throughout the ACG, the watersheds are being restored for 11 major rivers that service all local towns and the irrigation systems for major agroscapes. This ACG water factory is becoming particularly crucial as global warming continues to heat up and dry out the region and as regional agriculture moves toward environmental control. Also through restoration of the original forest vegetation throughout the ACG, atmospheric carbon is being farmed (see Costa Rica's P.A.P. in http//www.ji.org and http://www.unfccc.de). The ACG and its biodiversity and ecosystem industries thus become both the “green scrubber” and the insurance policy that the carbon will stay sequestered. The ACG has been a major stimulus, supporter, training ground, and proving ground for many of the field activities of INBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad), the institution that has accepted major responsibility in the Costa Rican national biodiversity inventory, teaching of bioliteracy, and computerization of biodiversity management (http://www.inbio.ac.cr). Locally hired and trained parataxonomists and parabiodiversity prospectors working for ACG and INBio share the ACG facilities. These paraprofessionals are part of the intellectual and operational critical mass that carries forward the ACG's Research Program. The international taxonomic cleanup that swirls around INBio's national biodiversity inventory, in great part being carried forward by the nation's parataxonomists, is key to readying the taxonomic platform on which the ACG's biodiversity industry is based. At least 60% of Costa Rica's species occur within ACG's area, which comprises only 2% of the country. A directory of biodiversity on the ACG Web site is anticipated as the debut of this taxonomic platform. The ACG grew out of Costa Rica's second-oldest national park and second-oldest hacienda. It has been a major stimulus and supporter for the rapidly evolving Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion (SINAC) of MINAE, which is the administrative and technical integration of all of Costa Rica's conserved wildlands into 11 consolidated conservation areas. SINAC's wildlands constitute about 25% of the country and combine many traditional management categories into one: to save it without destroying it. Ecotourism is Costa Rica's largest crop. The ecotouristwhether a school child from Peoria or a researcheris a better kind of cow, and the conservation areas are the pastures. SINAC was founded to forge a peaceful coexistence between the wildland garden and the agroscape and urban landscape. Nothing invites encroachment of neighbors more quickly than the impression of abandonment or disuse. Wildland biodiversity must have a national presence, a national farm. The ACG is developing itself as a research-friendly platform for all ilkslocal, national, and international. It is the place to find out a vast array of information. For example, how many times does a spider monkey scratch its left armpit (in the morning)? What species of plants do the caterpillars of rain-forest skipper butterflies eat? Can we clarify the species and genera of hundreds of species of water mites? What flowers do bats stick their heads into? Will a pharmaceutical company find its “gold” in a bottle of frozen baby ticks? How many eggs of
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Page 526 the Ridley's sea turtle survive predation by vultures and coyotes? Where do species of plants live in a montane cloud forest? How can Cladocera be used to reduce the numbers of dengue-bearing mosquitoes? Do the parasitic wasps in the ACG reduce the density of leaf miners in the neighbor's orange orchard? How many children do current ACG staff have, and how many siblings did the parents have? How fast does an unburned pasture return to forest? How hard does the wind blow? Not only does this biodiversity and ecosystem research industry provide a type of high-yield ecotourism, but each of these research projects also carries the distant possibility of royaltiessometimes paid in fuel for the Biological Education Program, sometimes paid in votes by visitors, sometimes paid in cash from the pharmaceutical industry and other commercial users, and sometimes paid in sweat equity by the researchers themselves. Even my description of this pilot project in the survival of complex tropical wildland is yet another product of this farm. My last example is that of a specific contract for biodiversity and ecosystem services between the ACG and Del Oro, a neighboring orange-juice company. The ACG is being paid for 20 years' worth of biological control agents, water, consulting, orange-peel degradation, and isolation from orange pestsUS$480,000 in the coinage of 1,200 hectares of one of the biologically scarcest habitats in Costa Rica, the lowland transition forests between the Atlantic rain forest and the Pacific dry forest. This mutualism has other ramifications in the form of Del Oro's “green” orange juice that is now certified ECO-OK by Rainforest Alliance and has been made technically feasible through the environmental services provided by the ACG. This juice is penetrating the Costa Rican market, heading for the European market, and reinforcing the contemporary Costa Rican attitude of taking virtually its entire agroscape into sustainable development. Stop the Ranching, Farming, Logging, and Hunting The impact of everyday agroscape activities on the ACG was largely eliminated by stopping the fires and purchasing the land. The policies of a conserved wildland then regulate the tilling, weeding, and harvesting of this garden. A conservation-area garden has its public lands, its storage areas, its restricted sections, each with different rules, and each leaving different footprints, but no footprints are free. Early on, the ACG accepted that it would pay some small portionsay, 5%of its biodiversity and ecosystem services to conserve the remaining 95% into perpetuity. This viewpoint leads to paradoxical management decisions. In the late 1970s, when Santa Rosa was still very much a tiny semiconserved island in a great sea of agroscape, at least 2,000 semiferal cattle were living in its 10,600 hectares. Fires burned across virtually all of it every year, but it was a relatively stable mosaic pasture and remnant forest, as it had been for centuries. In a spate of classic national-park management, the cattle were removed, but no fire-control program was established. The introduced species of African pasture grasses then grew to 2 m high, and they provided fuel for the annual fires that began the steady, thorough process of forest removal.
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Page 527 The lesson was learned. The young ACG left the cattle on the pastures as the land was purchased in the middle 1980s and, at times, even leased browsing rights to as many as 7,000 additional cattle as biotic mowing machines. This kept the grass down as the nascent fire-control program came into its own. These newly firefree pastures filled even more rapidly with woody, shade-producing plants than did those without livestock. Could the cattle be left until full reforestation was accomplished? No, because their use as biotic mowing machines is not free. Their footprint is the trashing of the streams, rivers, and riparian vegetation unless they are fenced out of them at a greater cost than their market value. Ironically, however, a muddy dry-season waterhole with a horse standing in it dates back to the “natural” before the Pleistocene hunters and their carnivorous helpers took our megafauna. Eventually, some sector in the dry forest of the ACG will contain whatever Pleistocene megafauna can be recuperated. I cannot overemphasize that a successfully conserved wildland is a garden. A topic in the news today is the restoration of forest for carbon farming. Carbon farming is not only forest restoration: Sale of the resulting carbon also can contribute to the operational costs of and provide investment capital for a conserved wildland. Just as tropical “debt-for-nature” swaps did not solve a nation's debt problems, but fueled some major conservation initiatives, carbon farming in conservation areas will not solve our greenhouse-gas problem, but it certainly can contribute to a holistic solution. This, in turn, brings up the many imaginative ways that the sequestered carbon can be harvested and “parked” elsewhere in buildings, furniture, and even underground deposits. Thus, a wildland tree becomes a long-term investment. Carbon harvesting and windthrows begin to merge in the nature of their footprints. Pay the Bills One can guard a large box of gold under the bed quite inexpensively, especially if no one else knows that it is thereit requires only some barbed wire, a gun, or a watchdog. The annual operating budget for Parque Nacional Santa Rosa in the middle 1980s was about US$120,000, including salaries, most of which was spent elsewhere, thus generating virtually no income for the region. Today, the ACG is 10 times as large, costs 10 times as much to operate, and generates diverse goods for barter and a large amount of cash for the region. It meets its costs through a combination of payment for services and interest income from its endowment. This endowment was established in the late 1980s through a combination of international donations for the existence value of the ACG and government subsidy as a “debt-for-nature” swap for both its existence value and its sustainable development. The future of the ACG depends heavily on its being able to seek reasonable compensation for the biodiversity and ecosystem services to the public and commercial sectors both independently and in consort with national-level and international-level projects. The new, landmark biodiversity-prospecting agreement between Yellowstone National Park and Diversa Corporation in California (http://www.wfed.org) is most welcome, as have been INBio's biodiversity-prospecting contracts with Merck and with the INBio-Cornell-Bristol-Myers
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Page 528 Squibb ICBG (International Cooperative Biodiversity Group) project (http://www.nih.gov/fic/res/lessons.htm; http://www.nih.gov/fic/res/icbg.htm). Being 10 times as large as the original Parque Nacional Santa Rosa should, and does, bring massive economy of scale to the ACG. Why, then, is the annual budget 10 times as large? There are two reasons. First, the ACG is beginning to put its “box of gold” on the stock-and-bond market. This brings administrative costs: An Internet Web site is not free, a firefighter on call at 2 a.m. requires payment, and it costs to encourage a university-educated Costa Rican biologist to spend a lifetime as a 5th-grade teacher in a remote rain-forest town that is just constructing its first gas station. Second, the tropics long have been reputed to be a source of inexpensive local labor. Unfortunately, local is a geographic term that has come, unconsciously, to connote labor that can be compensated for in terms that would be appropriate for a mule. However, when one moves workers from the pastures and bean fields into computer work stations, the national inventory, and the halls of politics, the operating cost for personnel skyrockets. As Costa Rica becomes a sustainably developed country and realizes its human aspirations, its cost per citizen will be similar to that in the rest of the developed world. Ironically, today we are quite concerned with internalizing environmental costs. The development of the ACG and many other Costa Rican institutions has made us all excruciatingly aware that internalizing the costs of biodiversity development and ecosystem-service development will require budgetary figures that were not anticipated by the societies that stand to gain in both the short and long terms. An enormous amount of labor and institutional subsidy has gone into the current projects of taxonomy, biodiversity prospecting, wildland administration, political decentralization, wildland-ecosystem engineering, and all the other things discussed here and in such international agreements as the Convention on Biodiversity. The Top-Down View The exportable generalizations that we academicians and office-holders hold so dear are extracted easily from the details just discussed. In doing all of them, we were unconsciously creating a garden. The traits of the ACG have been and are being driven by the organic traits of the site itself, by the hard-wired genetic tendencies of humans to create more humans and their domesticated genomic extensions, by the specific culture in which the ACG is embedded, and by the global humanity in which that is imbedded. A generalization of the top-down view is as follows: • Restoring complex tropical wildlands is primarily a social endeavor; the technical issues are far less challenging. • Survival of a complex wildland, whatever its origin, in the face of humanity's genes and domesticated genomic extensions, requires a major paradigm shiftwe cannot afford to perceive the conserved area as “wild,” which can be interpreted as “up for grabs.”
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Page 529 • Sustainability of a Wildland will be achieved only by bestowing garden status on it, with all the planning, caring, investing, and harvesting that implies. • All use is effect, and all gardens are affectedrestoration is “footprint absorption” by the garden, and it occurs on all levels. • Planning, caring, investing, and harvesting in the wildland garden are achieved through a detailed understanding of biodiversity and its ecosystems and by simultaneous incorporation of a specific garden's social milieu at local, national, and international levels. • The “achievable” is an ever-shifting and ever-negotiated n-dimensional hyperspace produced by the intrinsic traits of a specific wildland interwoven with the mosaic of social energies and agendas brought to bear on it. To put it another way, we must use it or lose it; but when we use it, something must then restore it. Acknowledgments The experiences and observations that have led to these reflections have been supported generously for 36 years by the US National Science Foundation, by the international scientific community, and by the government and people of Costa Rica. More specifically, the personnel of the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio), the Fundacion de Parques Nacionales (FPN), and the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energia (MINAE) have provoked and facilitated these thoughts. I particularly thank the Costa Rican team of Alvaro Umaña, Rodrigo Gámez, Alvaro Ugalde, Mario Boza, Alfio Piva, Pedro Leon, Luis Diego Gomez, Rene Castro, Randall Garcia, Johnny Rosales, Luis Daniel Gonzales, Karla Ceciliano, Jose Maria Figueres, Maria Marta Chavarria, Roger Blanco, Angel Solis, Isidro Chacon, Nelson Zamora, Jorge Corrales, Manuel Zumbado, Eugenia Phillips, Jesus Ugalde, Carlos Mario Rodriguez, Alonso Matamoros, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Masis, Ana Sittenfeld, Felipe Chavarria, Julio Quiros, Jorge Baltodano, Luz Maria Romero, and Sigifredo Marin, and all the parataxonomists of INBio, for their especially insightful and inspirational input over the last 12 years of development of these ideas. Although it is clear that the international cast of contributors to a concept of this nature is enormous, I particularly thank Winnie Hallwachs, Kenton Miller; Peter Raven, Tom Eisner, Jerry Meinwald, Ed Wilson, Don Stone, Paul Ehrlich, Hal Mooney, Kris Krishtalka, Jim Edwards, Gordon Orians, Monte Lloyd, Mike Robinson, Steve Young, Preston Scott, Leif Christoffersen, Odd Sandlund, Mats Segnestam, Eha Kern, Bernie Kern, Hiroshi Kidono, Frank Joyce, Ian Gauld, Jon Jensen, Murray Gell-Mann, Steve Viederman, Staffan Ulfstrand, Carlos Herrera, Steve Blackmore, Meridith Lane, Jim Beach, John Pickering, Amy Rossman, Bob Anderson, Terry Erwin, Don Wilson, Diana Freckman, Chris Thompson, Marilyn Roossnick, Luis Rodriguez, Dan Brooks, Charles Michener, Bob Sokal, John Vandermeer, Jack Longino, Rob Colwell, Chris Vaughan, and Tom Lovejoy for their investment in this process.
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Page 594 records), the Breeding Bird Survey (160,000 and 100,000 more in collections), and the US Breeding Bird Survey (15,000 records). This pilot example, the North American Biodiversity Information Network (NABIN), demonstrates the feasibility of accessing data distributed in several independent institutions. It is an example of the benefits of sharing information (Peterson and others 1997). One of the goals achieved was the development of a common catalog based on previous efforts (American Ornithological Union, http://www.itis.usda.gov/itis/). Another interesting development was the capacity to do bioclimatic modeling by sending the results of queries to the machine at the San Diego Super Computing Center. NABIN demonstrated the feasibility of creating a large-scale, multicountry distributed BIS. It will open the doors to larger efforts, such as the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network being discussed by several countries. Conclusion We have described an information system based on specimen data and the uses that nonbiologists might have for the information. In Mexico, assembling the data required the participation of hundreds of Mexican taxonomists, ecologists, agronomists, and geneticists. The Mexican Government, through CONABIO, had to support not only the creation of databases, but also a large part of the basic activities of the researchers, such as purchase of cabinets and equipment, visits to foreign institutions, and field trips. Maintaining the information system will require continued support for the creators and maintainers of the information. The cost, although great for the country, has remained moderate relative to the large increase in the value of the information in the collections, which is now available and being used by an unprecedented number of people. The specimen data are the core of a multiscale BIS. Despite the enormous holdings of systematic institutions all over the world, large gaps in our knowledge about the biota of the planet remain. Therefore, we will need more funds and concentrated efforts to computerize existing collections and increase the pace of exploration (SA2000 1994). The example of CONABIO shows that the task is feasible and should be tackled on a global basis. Acknowledgments We are grateful to the many people at CONABIO who worked to make this presentation possible. We thank especially Raul Jimenez, CONABIO's director of systems, for the GAP analysis; Hesiquio Benitez, subdirector of external services; Carlos Alvarez and all the personnel in the Biotic Inventories Area who worked on the GIS. We are also very grateful to the providers of the data we have presented here. Their collective effort is what makes biodiversity information systems possible. References Berlin BD, Breedlove E, Raven P. 1973. General principles of classification and nomenclature in folk biology. Am Anthro 75:214–42.
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Page 595 Bibby CJ, Collar NJ, Crosby MJ, Heath MF, Imboden C, Johnson TH, Long AJ, Sttatersfield AJ, Thirgood SJ. 1992. Putting biodiversity on the map: priority areas for global conservation. Cambridge UK: International Coun for Bird Preservation. Bisby FA (coord). 1995. Characterization of biodiversity. In: Heywood VH (ed). Global biodiversity assessment. Cambridge UK: Cambridge Univ Pr. p 21–106. Butterfield BR, Csuti B, Scott JM. 1994. Modeling vertebrate distributions for gap analysis. In: Miller RI (ed). Mapping the diversity of nature. Oxford UK: Chapman & Hall. p 53–68. Chapman AD, Busby JR. 1994. Linking plant species information to continental biodiversity inventory, climate modeling and environmental monitoring. In: Miller R (ed). Mapping the diversity of nature. London UK: Chapman & Hall. p 179–94. Colwell RK. 1996. Biota. The biodiversity database manager. Sunderland MA: Sinauer. Farnsworth NH. 1988. Screening plants for new medicines. In: Wilson EO, Peter FM (eds). Biodiversity. Washington DC: National Acad Pr. p 83–97. Hart D. 1997. New communities will benefit from HPC technology. Gather/Scatter 13(3):14–5. Haverkort B, Millar D. 1994. Constructing biodiversity: the active role of rural people in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. Etnoecologica 2(3):51–64. Jenkins Jr RE. 1988. Information management for the conservation of biodiversity. In: Wilson EO, Peter FM (eds). Biodiversity. Washington DC: National Acad Pr. p 231–8. Margules CR, Austin MP. 1995. Biological models for monitoring species decline: the construction and use of databases. In Lawton J, May RM (eds). Extinction rates. Oxford UK: Oxford Univ Pr. p 183–96. Margules CR, Redhead TD. 1995. BioRap. Guidelines for using the BioRap methodology and tools. Dickson Australia: CSIRO. May RM. 1995. Conceptual aspects of the quantification of the extent of biological diversity. In: Hawksworth DL (ed). Biodiversity measurement and estimation. London UK: Chapman & Hall. p 13–20. McNeill. 1993. Instability in biological nomenclature: problems and solutions. In: Bisby FA, Russell GF, Pankhurst RJ (eds). Designs for a global plant species information system. Oxford UK: Clarendon Pr. p 94–108. Murguía M. 1996. Jerarquización de las metodologías de validación de datos de georreferencia. CONABIO. Mexico. Peterson T, Navarro A, Warner R, Pisanty Y, Kennedy J. 1997. Pilot project North American bird information network. North American Biodiversity Information Network. CCA. Olivieri ST, Harrison J, Busby JR (Coord.) 1995. Data and information management and communication. In: Heywood VH (ed). Global biodiversity assessment. Cambridge UK: Cambridge Univ Pr. p 21–106. Patrick R. 1996. Systematic: a keystone to understanding biodiversity. In: Reaka-Kudla ML, Wilson DE, Wilson EO (eds). Biodiversity II: understanding and protecting our biological resources. Washington DC: Joseph Henry Pr. p 199–211. Reid W, Barber C, Miller K. 1992 Global biodiversity strategy. Washington DC: World Resources Inst, The World Conservation Union, UNEP. SA2000. 1994. Systematics agenda 2000: charting the biosphere. Technical report, produced by systematics agenda 2000. A consortium of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the Society of Systematic Biologists, and the Willi Hennig Society, in cooperation with the Association of Systematics Collections. Sarukhán J, Soberón J, Larson J. 1996. Biological conservation in a high beta-diversity country. In: di Castri F, Younès T (eds). Biodiversity, science, and development: towards a new partnership. Cambridge UK: CAB International. Soberón J, Llorente J, Benítez H. 1996. An international view of national biological surveys. Ann Missouri Bot Gard 83: 562–73. Thompson FC. 1996. Names: the keys to biodiversity. In: Reaka-Kudla ML, Wilson DE, Wilson EO (eds). Biodiversity II: understanding and protecting our biological resources. Washington DC: Joseph Henry Pr. p 199–211. Wilson EO. 1996. Introduction. In: Reaka-Kudla ML, Wilson DE, Wilson EO (eds). Biodiversity II: understanding and protecting our biological resources. Washington DC: Joseph Henry Pr. p 1–3. WCMC [World Conservation Monitoring Centre]. 1996. Guide to information management in the context of the convention on biological diversity. Nairobi Kenya: UNEP. WCMC [World Conservation Monitoring Centre]. 1997. Darwin initiative handbooks. Cambridge UK: WCMC.
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Page 596 Community Involvement and Sustainability: The Malpai Borderlands Effort William McDonald 1555 12th Street, Douglas, AZ 85607 Ronald J. Bemis Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA, RRT 1 Box 226, Douglas, AZ 85607 The Malpai Borderlands Group is a grassroots, landowner-driven organization that is attempting to implement ecosystem management on nearly one million acres of unfragmented landscape in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico along 70 miles of the Mexican border. The elevation of the area ranges from about 4,500 to 8,500 feet. The San Bernardino and Animas valleys, along with the Peloncillo and Animas mountain ranges, lie within the boundaries of the Malpai Borderlands. Annual precipitation here averages 12–20 in. Put succinctly, it is high and dry. Nonetheless, this area of remarkable biological diversity is home to numerous wildlife species. Perhaps most remarkable is that fewer than 100 people live in a region that is half the size of Rhode Island. One observer called it a “working wilderness”. The Malpai Borderlands is cattle ranching country, and ranching has kept this country open for the last century. In the Southwest, ranching depends on the existence of large amounts of open-space landscape. Many of the resident families are descended from the homesteaders who established ranches here around the turn of the 20th century. The diversity of land ownership is nearly as great as that of the country itself: 53% is privately owned, and 47% is owned by the federal or state government. The 320,000-acre Gray Ranch (which is predominantly private land) skews the percentage of total private land in the Malpai Borderlands. The other, smaller ranches that make up the remainder of the area range between 15,000 and 40,000 acres; most contain more than 50% government-owned land, which is leased for grazing, and, when combined with the private lands, make economic units. The intermingled character of the ownership
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Page 597 guarantees that government policies regulating the use of state and federally owned land will determine the fate of the private land. In turn, the fate of the private land, which generally contains the most reliable sources of water and other advantages (this was, after all, the land picked by the homesteaders as the best available), will determine the open-space future of the surrounding and intermingled government land. In the fall of 1991, a small group of ranchers in the Malpai Borderlands met with a group of individuals from the environmental community at the headquarters of a ranch owned by the Glenn family, known as the Malpai Ranch. These ranchers were concerned about the future of the big open landscape that is their homeland and wanted to get together with some of the critics of livestock-grazing in the West to see whether they shared any concerns and, perhaps, could find some common ground. This group, calling itself the “Malpai Group,” continued to meet at different ranch homes over a 2-year period. They were joined by scientist Raymond Turner, who has spent his life researching and recording changes in the landscape of the Southwest through this century. Two types of common ground were identified. One was a mutual concern about the possibility of fragmentation of the region. On the fringes of the area, some ranches already had sold to subdivision. Neither ranching nor many wildlife species prosper in an area that is fragmented by development. Second was a concern about the seemingly inexorable encroachment of woody species on the grasslands. The group believed that some human activities contributed to this occurrence; fire suppression was identified as perhaps both the most damaging and the most easily changed. It was generally acknowledged that truly sustainable ranching might be the only hope for holding this landscape together in the future. In the arid West, ranching is the only livelihood based on human adaptation to wild biotic communities. The group was unsure of its next step but believed that, whatever it would be, it should be driven by good science, contain a strong conservation ethic, be economically feasible, and be initiated and led by the private sector, with the agencies coming in as partners rather than with the private sector as their clients. The suppression of a small brushfire by a federal agency, over the objection of the ranch manager whose intermingled private land was involved, proved to be the catalyst that took the group to the next step. Another meeting was held at the Malpai Ranch, this time with 30 area landowners in attendance. From that meeting came a request to the agencies to join with the landowners in creating a comprehensive fire-management plan for the region. The landowners even took the first step, presenting the agencies with a map of all the different individual ranches. Each ranch map showed the owner's preference for a response to a firelet it burn, decide at the time, or suppress immediately. The agencies reacted positively to the request. A meeting with representatives of all the land-management agencies followed, and the parties committed to embark on an ecosystem approach to all resource management in the area, including fire. This enthusiasm by the agencies for a privately led initiative surprised many, but with thought, it made sense. It is truly ludicrous to expect government land-management agencies to take the lead, with shrinking budgets, conflicting
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Page 598 internal agendas, outside litigation, and partisan politics pulling them first in one direction, then in another, not to mention the consistently high turnover of personnel in key positions. One highly placed agency official remarked, “We just don't want to get in your way.” In a supporting role, however, the resources and expertise that dedicated agency employees can contribute is invaluable. While this effort was beginning, the largest ranch in the area was changing hands. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) had bought the Gray Ranch a few years before to keep it from being broken up and possibly subdivided. Now, TNC was preparing to sell the Gray Ranch to a local ranching family. The Hadley family, which had spent 20 years on the Guadalupe Canyon Ranch and had considerable resources beyond its cattle operation, was to be the buyer. The Hadleys created a private organization, the Animas Foundation, with which to purchase and manage the Gray Ranch. Maintaining the vast open-space character of the ranch was important to both the Hadleys and TNC, so part of the purchase agreement included conservation easements, to be held by TNC on the private lands of the Gray Ranch. These easements stipulate that the ranch can never be subdivided. John Cook, a TNC senior vice president, negotiated the sale. The Hadleys introduced Cook to some of their ranching neighbors, and he became intrigued and inspired by the fledgling Malpai Group. TNC generally was looked on with disfavor by most of the ranchers in the area, primarily because of their displeasure with TNC's practice of buying private land and then reselling it to the federal government. But TNC had done something different with the Gray Ranch, and the ranchers were impressed with John Cook's sincerity and his obvious love of the land. TNC was potentially a formidable partner, bringing to the table good science, a history of good working relations with the agencies, organizational skills and energy, a link to foundations and other donors, and even top-notch legal advice. At the ranchers' request, John Cook and some of his colleagues began working with the group. Some of the ranchers, fearful that TNC would take over the Malpai Group, dropped out at this point. The remainder believed, however, that this was the team to move ahead with. Thus, at the very time TNC was giving up its land holdings in the area, it was asked to remain. In the spring of 1994, the Malpai Borderlands Group came into being as a nonprofit organization. The group has a nine-member board of directors and counts as its cooperators all landowners in the area who wish to work with the group, all government agencies engaged in any way with the borderlands area, three universities, TNC, and various scientists. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) assigned Ron Bemis, a senior range conservationist, to work with the Malpai Borderlands Group in both states as the only NRCS fieldlevel employee in the nation to have two-state responsibility. Likewise, the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service assigned its senior range conservationist for the Coronado Forest, Larry Allen, to work with the group. In addition, two districts of the Bureau of Land Management work closely with the Malpai Borderlands Group. In fact, the voluntary commitment of all agencies to work together with this landowner-driven group toward mutual goals has been one of the hallmarks of our effort.
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Page 599 Early on, the Malpai Borderlands Group formulated the following goal statement: “Our goal is to restore and maintain the natural processes that create and protect a healthy, unfragmented landscape to support a diverse, flourishing community of human, plant, and animal life in our Borderlands Region. Together, we will accomplish this by working to encourage profitable ranching and other traditional livelihoods which will sustain the open-space nature of our lands for generations to come.” Everything done by the group must be consistent with these stated goals. Actions taken so far have resulted in better communication between landowners, between landowners and the agencies, and even between agencies. Part of the group's success has come from its insistence on involving the best available science in whatever it does. The link with science had its start with Ray Turner and his colleagues at the Desert Laboratory in Tucson. The science link expanded when TNC became involved with the group and then was boosted again when the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station obtained a large grant to work in the area. The Malpai Borderlands Group has formed a science advisory committee that reviews and oversees the various research projects going on in the region and includes such researchers as James Brown, of the University of New Mexico. The immediate past president of the Ecological Society of America, Dr. Brown has maintained a long-term project in an adjacent valley, studying, among other things, the individual effects of various birds and mammals on the area's landscape. The committee recently helped establish a standardized range-monitoring protocol for use by the group's cooperators. Among the various research projects is a rehabilitative effort set up by the Forest Research Station, the NRCS, and a private landowner on 150 acres of veryeroded land adjacent to a creek. The presence of significant archaeological artifacts on the site has prevented the use of mechanical means to address the erosion problem. The research station funded a survey by the University of Oklahoma, which found evidence on the site of a history of fairly intensive human activity dating back to AD 1000. Without the use of mechanized equipment, and not wishing to introduce exotic grass species, the landowner was stymied about how to rehabilitate and protect the site. Native grass seed is nearly 20 times more expensive than seed of adapted exotics, and it often does not pioneer well. The decision was made to use the landowner's cattle herd to affect the erosion site intensively by feeding native grass hay, raised at the NRCS Plant Materials Center, to the cattle at the site for 3 days, after which the site would be fenced off and rested for an as-yet-undetermined period to monitor the results. This project is just one example of how cooperation has allowed for an action that the landowners, researchers, agency, or university would have been unable to do alone. Another example has occurred on a neighboring ranch, where the Magoffin family became concerned for the welfare of an amphibian, the Chiricahuan leopard frog, which is listed as threatened. During a recent drought, the water source that was habitat for the frogs on the ranch began drying up. The Magoffins began hauling water to the frogs as a stopgap and also began consulting with herpetologist Cecil Schwalbe, of the University of Arizona, about how best to protect the frog in the future. According to Dr. Schwalbe, the biggest threat to the
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Page 600 leopard frog is predation by introduced species, such as bullfrogs, that live in aquifers and waters on public lands. He believes that the best chance in the future for the leopard frogs is in isolated sources of water on private land, such as the Magoffins' ranch. Working together, the Magoffins, Dr. Schwalbe, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the NRCS, and the Malpai Borderlands Group designed, funded, and created a permanent water source at the site of the frogs' jeopardized habitat and at one other site on the ranch where they are known to exist on the ranch. These waters were designed so that they also could be used in the ranch operation, making this a win for all concerned. A high-school biology class in nearby Douglas, Arizona, has collected tadpoles from the Magoffin sites and is raising them with the idea of distributing them to other isolated waters on private land in the region; the hope is that this program will obviate the eventual listing of this species as endangered. In March 1996, Warner Glenn, owner of the Malpai Ranch, encountered a jaguar in the Peloncillo Mountains. Armed with a pistol, he shot several times with a camera instead. As the big cat was leaving his sight, he realized that he faced a dilemma. The jaguar was proposed for listing as endangered in the United States. If he went public with his story and his photographs of the jaguar, the resulting attention might lead to the designation of the area in the future as critical habitat, a designation that could affect the two activities on which his livelihood depends, hunting with dogs and grazing cattle. After a lifetime of hunting mountain lions, he felt a kinship with the big cats and a fascination with the jaguar as well as a concern for its future. The deciding factor was Warner Glenn's faith in the ability of the Malpai Borderlands Group to make it turn out right. After a meeting with the appropriate agencies, the Malpai Borderlands Group became active with a coalition of other organizations and individuals in drawing up a conservation agreement for the jaguar in Arizona and New Mexico. Officially sponsored by the game and fish departments of both states, the agreement was attacked by activists as simply a ruse designed to subvert listing the jaguar as endangered. Despite this, although the jaguar is now listed, the conservation agreement and the working group that drew it up live on. At the invitation of the Malpai Borderlands Group, world-renowned big-cat researcher Alan Rabinowitz visited to survey the site of the jaguar encounter, as well as the corridor that runs from the Peloncillos to the Sierra Madres in Mexico. Rabinowitz's opinion is that the Peloncillos and the neighboring Sierra San Luis are not true habitat for the jaguar. The true habitat lies to the south, which is where resources and efforts should be directed (Rabinowitz 1997). He did, however, help Warner Glenn set up some trip cameras in an effort to record any further visits by jaguars. The Malpai Borderlands Group also met with representatives of an activist organization well known for suing the government for species listings and critical-habitat designations. While professing to have no current interest in pursuing critical-habitat designation in the United States for the jaguar, the activists vowed that they would pursue endangered-species listing for the leopard frog, regardless of the success of the group's efforts to restore the population, which has dampened that effort somewhat.
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Page 601 The most successful, yet most frustrating, type of work for the Malpai Borderlands Group has concerned the use of fire. Tree-ring studies by Tom Swetnam and subsoil studies by Owen Davis, both with the University of Arizona, yielded evidence that fire historically affected nearly all sites in the Malpai Borderlands at least once a decade (Swetnam and Baisin 1995). Today, this area may be one of very few in this country where a large-scale attempt could be made to replicate that frequency of fire. In fact, during the last 4 years, because of the relationships developed by the Malpai Borderlands Group between the neighbors, the agencies, and the rural fire departments, more naturally ignited fires have been allowed to burn. About 120,000 acres have been affected, including two prescribed burns. One advantage of prescribed burning is that it permits studies to be done before and after. For both burns, various studies are looking at the effects on different plant and animal species. These fires were ignited during the normal pre-monsoon fire season, when lightning strikes often occur, mimicking natural fire as nearly as possible. All the fires, natural and prescribed, have tended to leave behind a burned and unburned mosaic pattern, allowing for side-by-side comparison. The first prescribed burn presented several political challenges. The targeted area lay in two states and involved coordination with six agencies in both states. In addition, a wilderness-study area was involved, and because of the international boundary, Mexico needed to be consulted. With a Herculean effort by everyone involved, the planning was actually completed in 8 months and the burn itself was quite successful. Although the second burn did not involve anywhere near the jurisdictional difficulties of the first, the attempt nearly ran aground when ecosystem management came into conflict with single-species management. The two ranchers involved voluntarily withheld grazing from their forest allotments to build the fine-fuel load high enough to affect the woody species, but the consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act between the Forest Service and the Fish and Wild-life Service over the possible effect of fire on three species listed as endangered dragged on for 2 years. Eventually, the disagreements between biologists in the two agencies over the possible effects on one species, the desert-blooming agave, became so heated that the Malpai Borderlands Group requested that Jamie Clark, national head of ecological services for the Fish and Wildlife Service (now its director), visit the site to help resolve the debate. Negotiation led to the establishment of plots for before-and-after studies to be funded by the Forest Research Station. This avoided any further stalemate and the fire was ignited in the premonsoon period. This experience taught us several things, principally that the site-by-site approach is just too costly. The planning for this burn cost about $20 per acre for the Forest Service alone, but it cost only $3 per acre to actually perform the burn. Because the cost of consultations was the primary factor in driving up the cost of planning, it became clear that an alternative approach to prescribed burning was desirable. What has emerged is a comprehensive programmatic approach that will identify and attempt to resolve as many concerns as possible for the entire area before planning begins for a specific burn. We hope that this can be accomplished
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Page 602 in a 2-year period, after which the process of burning on specific sites will be expedited and require a minimal number of consultations. At this point, while awaiting the data from current and future studies, the Malpai Borderlands Group feels positive about the results of the burns, both natural and prescribed. Early results show a considerable immediate effect on the woody species and the rejuvenation of the grasses, resulting in more ground cover. Unfortunately, not everyone has waited for the data. The herpetologist who led a before-burn study on the endangered ridgenose rattlesnake has issued a report recommending critical-habitat designation for the snake and recommending against future prescribed burning in the Peloncillo Mountains at elevations above 5,000 ft. The report also recommends that livestock-grazing on all Forest Service allotments that contain ridgenose rattlesnake habitat be restricted to midwinter. Even before this report had been reviewed by those for whom it was intended, and well before the Malpai Borderlands Group became aware of it, these recommendations were incorporated by a US Fish and Wildlife Service herpetologist into a court-ordered biological opinion on grazing for two Bureau of Land Management districts that cover nearly one-third of the land area of Arizona. Even though the report itself (which is final but not published yet ) states that the effects of grazing on the habitat of the ridgenose rattlesnake are unknown, it recommends midwinter grazing only. The snake-survey team shut down its study within a week after the burn, well before the monsoon rains and the resulting revegetation of the site began, permitting no opportunity to study even the shortterm effects of the fire on the habitat, but the report still recommends no burning above 5,000 feet. Only one of 13 collared snakes died in the fire, and it was not a ridgenose rattlesnake. The survey team itself was responsible for the loss of two snakes during the course of its research. Given the facts, what is the basis for the no-burn recommendation? Why is this recommendation part of a biological opinion on grazing? We believe that with the force of the Endangered Species Act behind them, some individuals within the Fish and Wildlife Service have been abusing the power of the act increasingly in recent years to force their will, with little regard for science. For instance, peer review is not required for opinions expressed in section 7 consultations. Under pressure from the courts, biological opinions are being thrown together with the flimsiest of scientific underpinnings. We believe that these opinions are destructive and counterproductive to collaborative efforts like ours. The opinion on the ridgenose rattlesnake effectively prevents any prescribed burning in the Peloncillo mountains, and its grazing recommendations potentially could affect some ranching operations to the point of jeopardizing their continuation as ranches, possibly putting thousands of acres at risk for development. This “shoot-from-the-hip science” hardly encourages private landowners to want researchers to come onto their ranches. The trust and openness that have characterized the efforts of the Malpai Borderlands Group to this point are threatened, encouraging nonparticipating landowners to remain nonparticipating. The few who believe that the safest policy toward endangered species is to “shoot, shovel, and shut up” will stay convinced of the certitude of their position, and they may even gain some converts. In such an atmosphere of mistrust, for instance, it will be difficult for land-
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Page 603 owners to have the confidence to place leopard frogs willingly on their private land. Landowners must know that the Endangered Species Act will not be used retroactively to restrict the activities on which their livelihood depends. We believe that rigid single-species management in our biologically diverse world is wrong. Whether the species is a ridgenose rattlesnake, a willow flycatcher, or a beef cow, management for one species alone is narrow-minded, short-sighted, ineffective, and, in fact, harmful. Will this unfortunate action ultimately blow apart the efforts in the Malpai Borderlands? We hope not. The Malpai Borderlands Group is positioned uniquely to bring to bear the scientific rigor and influence necessary to address this abuse. If the principals are willing to come together to talk and to work for as long as it takes for all concerns to be addressed fairly, the confidence and trust that must exist for a collaborative effort to work can return. From Montana to Hawaii to Brazil, the “radical-center” approach of the Malpai Borderlands Group is regarded by many as the bestand maybe the onlyhope for our remaining wildlands. However, reasonable people in both the public and private sectors must be allowed to work together in pursuit of creative solutions to issues about the land as they occur. If they are not allowed this flexibility, all the government policies and global treaties that can be dreamed up will amount to only so much hot air and wasted paper and ink. Writing in support of the approach of the Malpai Borderlands Group, James Brown stated, “Ranchers, conservationists, government-agency employees, research scientists, and the American public all have much to lose if the present climate of distrust, disagreement, and interference is perpetuated. All have much to gain through interaction, cooperation, and collaboration” (Brown and McDonald 1995). Which will be our legacy? The generations to come will be the biggest losers or winners. References Brown JH, McDonald W. 1995. Livestock grazing and conservation on southwestern rangelands. Cons Biol 9:1646. Rabinowitz A. 1997. The status of jaguars in the United States: trip report. New York NY: Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo. p 3–5. Swetnam TW, Baisin CH. 1995. Historical fire occurrence in remote mountains of southwestern NM and northern Mexico. Gen Tech Rept INT-320. Ogden UT: USDA Forest Service Intermountain Research Station. p 153–6.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: