There is one large question: Does funding conservation even work?

It may seem like we’re moving no where with certain species. Rhinos, tigers, mountain gorillas, lowland gorillas, right whales, blue whales, and sei whales, orangutans, pandas (of both varieties), snow leopards, vaquitas and finless porpoises, species of elephants and turtles all come to mind. Even some success stories aren’t as miraculous as we’d want –look at the kakapo with its amazing come back even though they are still less then 150 mating pairs.

The UN keeps on pushing and back in 1992 The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity was signed by 109 countries. Some refused and others failed into increase their conservation budgets, but between 1992 and 2008 an additional $14.4 billion has been spent and global diversity declines 29% less then it did prior. This is an incredible step in the right direction.

After some researched it was concluded that there are, “seven countries are responsible for 60% of the world’s total biodiversity loss: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, China, India, Australia, and the USA. On a more positive note, seven countries have seen their biodiversity improve: Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Poland, and the Ukraine.” The research team found that poorer countries with more threatened species are the most effective places to spend conservation money.

With there being decrease linked with more funding, this is proof that conservation funding actually does have an effect on biodiversity. Knowing this changes a lot, but money, as it often does, causes conflicts. People aren’t always interested in the same things and often value different ideas differently.

Not everyone believes in the efforts of conservation though. Many believe that the funding should be redirected to economic growing projects; that the limits and regulations to protect the natural world are far too imposing and stopping economic growth. With the turn over in governmental power many things happened.

On Dan Ashe’s last day as director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services he issued the phasing out of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal land. This upset the states and it was revoked three months later because it skipped the normal regulatory process and as John Jackson III says, “with good reason, because there is no sound conservation basis for the order.” (I just want to point out that lead is a toxic metal.) It was an unprofessional move that help fuel the fire of change.

I suppose in this case: repeal.

One flaw of conservation work is that it removes power from local hands. It alienates and tends to villainies the locals. This causes major problems and it always has. A lot of Alaskan land is conserved, let it be in parks or restoration centers, and so the Federal Government in payment for taking so much, granted Alaska the authority to control fish and wildlife on those lands. In 2016, the Obama administration took over management of those resources on about 78 million acres. That, under Zinke, has been repealed.

Now, I wasn’t sure what that really meant “the Obama administration taking control of fish and wildlife’ so I looked at another article specifically on that issue. The administration had made it illegal to hunt wolves and bears in specific manners. Under the law, one could not hunt a wolf while they were at their den with their cubs. One could also not shoot grizzly bears from a helicopter. This is what was repealed.

BLM had hydraulic fracturing regulations, duplicative, methane flaring rules, and fracking fluid reporting requirements. The agency had 21 days to determine whether the rules were consistent with Trump’s energy independence orders. All bureaus and offices were given this time limit to find any regulation that stood in the way of the development or use of energy resources.

This is just the recent changes with the new administration and their changes to conservation legislation. Finding where that money is going is a little harder. Any help on that front would be appreciated. That’s why this piece feels a little disjointed.

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