In Europe, as in the rest of the world, human activities are causing rapid biodiversity loss. Over the last two decades, the EU has been trying to tackle this in various ways, including through the Natura 2000 Network of protected areas. This includes over 27 000 protected areas, covering over million km2, making it the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. The Natura 2000 Network creates a framework for mainstreaming conservation into a range of sectors. The European Commission led the development of the Natura 2000 Network.
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Kachchh is an arid ecosystem with a wealth of biodiversity that has been declared Rare, Endangered and Threatened (RET). This region has historically been a meeting point for cultures, ecosystems, and geological formations, all of which have contributed to its rich biodiversity. This is the only arid ecosystem in the world that is accompanied by a marine mangrove ecosystem along its coast. The Gulf of Kachchh and its creeks and mangroves are the home to some of the rare marine biodiversity of the world, including Dolphin, Sea Cow/Dugong, Green Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, etc.
There are instances where tourism can support conservation efforts. Environmental certification, if appropriately designed for the Pacific region, could direct tourism development in the right direction. The proposed Blue Star environmental tourism certification is being developed with the Pacific in mind.
What are the solutions – from the perspective of industry?
The "Kimberley to Cape Initiative" in Northern Australia is working across one quarter of a billion hectares of arguably the largest ecologically intact areas of tropical savannas, rivers and shallow seas in the world. It offers a globally significant opportunity in tropical conservation connectivity. The project aims to support development and conservation that enhances natural and cultural values and strengthens communities. Its key strategy is to establish an interconnected network of land of diverse tenures. It includes and links landscapes of particularly high conservation value, e.g.
This case study discusses the great potential connectivity outcomes when development offsets are required in a landscape which has a foundation of groups committed towards achieving a conservation “corridor”. In this example, the development was the loss of vegetation required for the duplication of the Hume Highway (by Roads and Maritime NSW) and the “corridor” is the priority landscape of the Slopes to Summit partnership (within the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative area) in southern NSW.
Artisanal mining continues to be a major challenge in protected areas, as enforcement is hard to undertake. Through appropriate partnerships with the private sector, gemology labs can develop a brand differentiation program whereby revenues from jewelry that contains responsibly mined gems (that can be chemically traced through gemological techniques) are partially channeled back into conservation. This idea was developed in partnership with Gemological Institute of America and University of Basel’s Laurent Cartier.