Categorized | Environment, Sci-Tech

Premier atlas provides unprecedented view of the Earth


This year, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, The Nature Conservancy will release “The Atlas of Global Conservation,” a groundbreaking and visually stunning new book that goes far beyond the traditional atlas, providing the first ever in-depth picture of the Earth’s animals, plants and habitats—and the changes and challenges each faces.

“The scale of this effort is inspiring,” said Mark Tercek, The Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO. “Never before has such a broad array of information describing the natural world and how people are altering it been assembled in a single book. The atlas’ global maps reveal the extent of threats to the Earth’s natural systems, showing us what needs to be done to maintain their vitality and ability to meet the needs of the plants, animals and people that depend upon them.”

Although “The Atlas of Global Conservation” stands as a major breakthrough for conservation scientists, it is not just a critical resource for conservation practitioners. The “Atlas” contains fascinating, useful information that appeals to anyone interested in the natural world and our links to it — especially travelers, fishermen, birders and everyday outdoor enthusiasts — including:

* Comprehensive Science: Conservancy scientists collected and integrated data on the status of the planet from some 70 institutions around the world and the work — sometimes the life work — of hundreds of scientists, some crunching numbers in offices and many others collecting on-the-ground data from the far reaches of the planet.

* Maps: Though many changes are occurring in the natural world, we may see only a narrow piece of them in our everyday life, whether in the form of fewer songbirds arriving in the spring or different types of fish being caught from a favorite dock. The “Atlas” illuminates the extent of our reach — collectively and individually — and helps readers understand the impacts of their choices via 83 colorful, informative global maps.

* Essays: While the maps invite readers to make their own assessments, essays from leading scientists and conservation thinkers, including Paul Ehrlich, Gretchen Daily, and Daniel Pauly, further illuminate some of conservation’s most complex challenges.

“This atlas carries our living world on its shoulders. It gives us new ways of seeing and understanding ourselves in relation to the rest of the wondrous, ever-changing diversity of life on our precious planet,” said Jon Christensen, an essayist and Executive Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford. “If these maps do not inspire insights, provoke arguments, and spur action, they will have failed. They cannot fail. Too much depends on our finding a way forward with these maps.”

Forty years ago, this level of information did not exist; now, it is at our fingertips. “The Atlas of Global Conservation” provides a vision of the challenge before us in the fight to preserve our planet. If we choose to wait another 40 years to take advantage of opportunities to combat the threats spelled out in the “Atlas,” it will be too late.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.

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