A new project to rewild 40 significant island ecosystems has been launched.
The 2030 Island-Ocean Connection Challenge is a collaborative effort between the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the governments of Palau and Panama, and the NGO Re:Wild.
To achieve this ambitious goal, US$160 million (~€147.6 million) has to be raised. The project aims to maximize the effect of island conservation on the surrounding marine life, including mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs.
Commenting on the new endeavor, Penny Becker, the vice president for conservation at Island Conservation, stated:
“The Island-Ocean Connection Challenge is a direct response to the triple threats of the climate change, ocean health, and extinction crises — all of which disproportionately impact island ecosystems and island people.”
While Wes Sechrest, the chief executive officer and chief scientist of Re:wild, commented:
“We are launching a new era of island restorations and rewilding focused on scaling and deploying collaborative whole-systems conservation plans for optimal impact. We can no longer look at these islands as separate from the ocean that surrounds them but must instead look at the ecosystems as a whole if we are to effectively rewild them for the benefit of local communities and the planet as a whole.”
Additionally, Stuart Sandin, the director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, stated:
“Indigenous peoples and local communities have long understood and managed natural resources in the context of land-to-sea connections. Modern conservation science and restoration projects have only recently begun to elucidate, prioritize, and capitalize on these connections to maximize the returns on such investments.”