Migration Conservation: A View from Above

By Fischman, Robert L. | Environmental Law, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Migration Conservation: A View from Above


Fischman, Robert L., Environmental Law


I.  The Importance of Animal Migration Conservation
II. The Symposium Articles
    A. Scientific Research Agenda
    B. Law and Policy Reform
    C. Collaboration Case Studies
III. Conclusion

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF ANIMAL MIGRATION CONSERVATION

Animal migrations are widely appreciated as among the most awe-inspiring spectacles of nature. Yet, they are hardly recognized in the law of biodiversity protection. Migration as a phenomenon, and the migratory species of all taxa that display this fascinating behavior, are disappearing all over the world with attendant loss of ecosystem functions and social values. The decline of migrations is a sadly familiar tale in conservation literature: compelling evidence reveals that large-scale migrations are succumbing to the pressures of habitat modification, prey disappearance, hunting pressures, barriers to movement, and pollution. The diverse animals that migrate, including butterflies, salmon, sea turtles, bats, and songbirds, are struggling to continue a tenuous yet important adaptation.

Extinction prevention programs employ population thresholds that may be inadequate to preserve migratory behavior. So, we may retain bison, whooping cranes, and salmon, but lose the suite of benefits migrations provide. Besides the subjective human experience, animal migrations cycle nutrients and facilitate other ecological processes. Many promote ecosystem resilience that enhances the ability of natural systems to recover from disturbances and stresses, including some manifestations of climate change. (1)

There are two primary reasons why conservation of migratory species does not always preserve actual migrations. The first is habitat loss or migration route barriers that thwart movement. This is why connectivity linking breeding sites, travel paths, wintering areas, and key sources of food across landscapes is a key challenge for conserving animal migrations. Connectivity is also critical for effective adaptation to climate change, which will spur species to disperse into new regions. (2) In that respect, successful efforts to maintain animal migrations may create templates for improving ecological resilience as climate change accelerates. One important theme of this symposium is that conserving migrations will offer lessons applicable to the problem of climate change adaptation.

The second reason is that some species require populations well above minimum-viable, survival levels in order to engage in migration. (3) The rationale for preserving migratory behavior, therefore, must go beyond the rationale of preventing extinction. Keeping common species common is a traditional justification for conservation actions, particularly for programs aimed at sustained yield. (4) Maintaining abundant migrations forestalls the difficult triage decisions of recovering imperiled species and provides greater ecological services and resilience to landscapes. Abundant migrations are increasingly rare. So, paradoxically, the conventional motivations for preserving wondrous but rare aspects of nature would also support some of the migration conservation agenda.

Suppose that law and policy were to wholeheartedly embrace a conservation goal of maintaining ecological functions and processes to supplement the ecological elements (e.g., imperiled species, coastal wetlands) on which existing programs focus. The conservation challenge of protecting all migrations would nevertheless be insurmountable. Yet the research reflected in this symposium can be used to set priorities. Generally, resources should be devoted to two kinds of migrations: 1) those involving sufficiently large populations as to be important shapers of ecosystems; and 2) motivators of conservation among the public.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that complex conservation challenges require collaboration. (5) However, as with Jane Austen's aphorism, confident declarations often belie vexing difficulties in their execution. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Migration Conservation: A View from Above
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.