The Global Safety Net-what should we protect?

Yesterday I posted a link on facebook to the NYT article, “Restoring Farmland Could Drastically Slow Extinctions, Fight Climate Change.” It includes a site I want to share today to called The Global Safety Net.

This is a cool interactive map that shows what parts of the world are the most valuable to conserve based on 11 conservation priorities. Some of these priorities include: rare species sites, high biodiversity areas, intact wilderness areas, inland surface water. Mapping these priorities shows where conservation efforts will provide the biggest payoff in terms of reversing biodiversity loss, preventing CO2 emissions, and enhancing natural carbon renewal.

(Global Safety Net mapping of the state of Wisconsin)

[pullquote class=”right”]See what part of the world contributes most to the GSN[/pullquote]The site is well-designed and easy to use. You can read more about the science behind the map design and it includes a chart rating different countries by how much area would be valuable to conserve, and what is currently being done. Plus it’s really fun to “travel” around and see what the story is for different parts of the planet.

[pullquote class=”left”]…and how conservation efforts are going.[/pullquote]Take the midwestern United States, for example. This view shows that much of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin contain Climate Stabilization and Intact Wilderness Areas.  The yellow trails are potential wildlife corridors. I’ve opened a window showing an evaluation of the United States as a whole: conserving 50.1% of the land would contribute to the Global Safety Net, 6.8 % of this land is indigenous, and the protection level is 3 (scoring 1-10, based on how much conservation is being done on land identified as valuable to the GSN).

Take it for a spin…see how your favorite vacation area rates or where you grew up.  Investigate the rankings to see what part of the world contributes most to the GSN and how conservation efforts are going. This tool was created by various partners, including University of Minnesota, Arizona State University, and Google Earth Engine.

Brenda Plakans
Executive Director, WEC