Podcast: Can Biden’s 30×30 plan put U.S. on a positive conservation track?

  • On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we discuss the 30×30 conservation plan recently released by the administration of US President Joe Biden and its potential to transform the way the US conserves its natural resources.
  • Joe Walston, executive vice president of global conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society, tells us that the Biden 30×30 plan has been welcomed by environmentalists, even though many important details of the plan still need to be hammered out, and that it sends a signal to the rest of the world that the US is once again looking to lead the world in conservation.
  • Sarah Derouin, a Mongabay contributor and a producer of the weekly radio show and podcast “Big Picture Science,” tells us about two agroforestry programs that are already changing the way food is produced in the US and how agroforestry might help meet the 30×30 targets.

Today we’re taking a look at the potential for transformative change in environmental conservation in the US and beyond.

Listen here:

The administration of US President Joe Biden released a report called “America The Beautiful” last month that laid out a vision for conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030, making the US the latest country to release what’s called a 30×30 plan. Many other countries have already joined the 30×30 movement, and a group of more than 50 countries from around the world, led by Costa Rica, France, and the UK, are pushing for a global 30×30 goal to be adopted at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity taking place in China this October.

Joining us today to discuss the Biden Administration’s 30×30 plan is Joe Walston, executive vice president of global conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Walston tells us about how the plan has been received by environmentalists, the most important details of the plan that still need to be fleshed out, and why the US joining the 30×30 movement could have broader impacts than just transforming conservation in the States.

While we wait for details on Biden’s 30×30 plan, there are already a number of conservation initiatives in the US that aim to make profound changes in the way Americans live on this planet. One good example of these kinds of initiatives are agroforestry projects, which seek to produce food within systems that include trees and other perennials and can actually restore the environment rather than deplete it.

We’re also joined today by Mongabay contributor Sarah Derouin, who recently wrote about two agroforestry programs underway in the US Midwest and in the state of Pennsylvania. Derouin tells us about the goals of these programs and how agroforestry might factor into the US meeting its new 30×30 targets.

Here are some links for further reading:

“Biden lays out vision for protecting 30% of US land, waters by 2030” (6 May 2021)
“Nuts about agroforestry in the U.S. Midwest: Can hazelnuts transform farming?” (28 April 2021)
“In Pennsylvania, agroforestry holds a key to cleaning up waterways and Chesapeake Bay” (27 May 2021)

And here’s an episode of the Mongabay Newscast from January 2021 dedicated entirely to agroforestry:

“Podcast: Agroforestry, an ancient climate solution that boosts food production and biodiversity” (27 January 2021)

A tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) emerges from its tree tube in a riparian forest buffer planted along a streamside in Pennsylvania. Tree tubes protect riparian trees from deer browse, and from maintenance activities like herbicide spraying to control invasive species, and weed-whacking/mowing. Image courtesy of DCNR.
Pennsylvania DCNR staff work together to plant a shrub within a riparian forest buffer, and install a shelter and stake to protect the young shrub as it begins to grow. Image courtesy of DCNR.

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Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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