From the December 2009 Idaho Observer:

Explanation of the Biodiversity Treaty and the Wildlands Project

by Dr. Michael Coffman

As residents of the state of Idaho, we are particularly concerned with the red areas on the below map since our homes lie there and our Congressman Walt Minnick (D-ID) has set up a “Panhandle Collaborative” with local county commissioners and a myriad of environmental groups in order to devise a forest management plan that would eliminate human use of over two million acres of national forest land in North Idaho and Montana. Local Commissioner Cornel Rasor stated that our county seat is a member of ICLEI and “sustainable development” is on the move into North Idaho.

The Wildlands Project was developed by Dr. Michael Soule, co-founder and first president of the Society for Conservation Biology; Dr Reed Noss, current editor for the Journal of Conservation Biology; and David Foreman, co-founder and long-time leader of Earth First.

The United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment define the Wildlands Project as the basis for preserving biodiversity for its UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Sevile Agreement for the Man and Biosphere Strategic Program (MAB), and the Strategic Plan for the USMAB, state that the MAB Program (see map) is designed to help implement this UN Convention, a treaty that was never ratified by the US Senate.

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity is centered on the science of conservation biology, largely created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is made up of over 500 national and international environmental and socialist groups known as NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations). Itself an accredited NGO with the United Nations, the IUCN received diplomatic immunity on January 19, 1996 by President Clinton (Exec. Order 12986). To date the science of conservation biology is based on nothing more than unproven theories.1

Magnitude of the Wildlands Project

“Conservation must be practiced on a truly grand scale,” claims Noss. And grand it is. In the article “The Wildlands Project Land Conservation Strategy” in the 1992 special issue of Wild Earth, Noss provides the whopping dimensions of this effort:

Core reserves are wilderness areas that supposedly allow biodiversity to flourish.

“It is estimated,” claims Noss, “that large carnivores and ungulates require reserves on the scale of 2.5 to 25 million acres .... For a minimum viable population of 1000 [large mammals], the figures would be 242 million acres for grizzly bears, 200 million acres for wolverines, and 100 million arces for wolves. Core reserves should be managed as roadless areas (wilderness). All roads should be permanently closed.”

Corridors, he writes, are “extensions of reserves....Multiple corridors interconnecting a network of core reserves provide functional redundancy and mitigate against disturbance.... Corridors several miles wide are needed if the objective is to maintain resident populations of large carnivores.”

Buffer zones should have two or more zones “so that a gradation of use intensity exists from the core reserve to the developed landscape. Inner zones should have low road density (no more than 0.5 mile/square mile) and low-intensity use such as hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, primitive camping, wilderness hunting and fishing, and low-intensity silviculture (light selective cutting). Outer zones may have higher road densities (but still no more than 1 mile/ square mile)...and heavier recreational use (but no off-road vehicles) and campgrounds. New forestry silviculture (e.g., partial retention harvests), selection forestry, or other forestry experiments” would be permitted. More intensive harvesting would not be allowed.

What do Reserves and Corridors really mean?

While this effort has a noble mission, the implications are staggering. As noted in the June 25, 1993 issue of Science, it “is nothing less than the transformation of America to an archipelago of human-inhabited islands surrounded by natural areas.”

The 100 million acres of core area required for 1000 wolves is greater than the total land area of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, (71 million acres). It would mean the nationalization of private land through regulation or other means, forcing people to move to areas zoned for occupation, and shutting down half of the agriculture, forest products and mining industries. Scarce resources means the rest of us paying double and triple for products made from these resources.

Reserves and Corridors do not work

Science is showing that there is no clear evidence that reserves and corridors work or are even needed. Rather, good forest management enhances biodiversity and sustainability.

“The theory has not been properly validated and the practical value of biogeographic principles for conservation remains unknown. The theory provides no special insights relevant to conservation,” wrote Zimmerman, B.L. and R.O. Bierregaard, Journal of Biogeography (1986).

The theory is being “increasingly heavily criticized ... as inapplicable to most of nature, largely because local population extinction was not demonstrated” stated Simberloff, D. J. Faa, J. Cox, and D. Mehlman, in “Movement Corridors: Conservation Bargains or Poor Investment?” Conservation Biology (1992).

“No unified theory combines genetic, demographic, and other forces threatening small populations, nor is their accord on the relative importance of these threats,” they added. “There are still few data, and many widely cited reports are unconvincing.”

“Studies that have been frequently cited as illustrating corridor use for faunal movement, do not, in fact, provide clear evidence.” Of those that do support the need for corridors, wooded fence rows are adequate for many species, wrote Hobbs, R.J. in his article, “The Role of Corridors in Conservation: Solution or Bandwagon?” Tree 7(11) (1992).

“The relationship between habitat and mortality is indirect and habitat does not appear to be a significant factor presently in mortality of grizzly bears….Mace and Waller (1998) [document] mortality rates that were 15 times higher for bears using the wilderness area than for bears using only multiple-use lands in the same study area.” From the US Forest Service Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Montana and Idaho.

The science used in the MAB and Convention on Biological Diversity does not work and may actually reduce biodiversity. Michael Shaw, in his booklet, What is Private Property, demonstrates that the UN biodiversity-based “Sustainable Development Agenda 21” is causing the ecological condition of the California coastline under its jurisdiction to degrade, while his responsibly-stewarded Liberty Garden is a triumph of native plants that no government-owned land can match.

For more information on the map and Wildlands Project, contact Dr. Michael Coffman (207) 945-9878; or visit or


This map is no longer shown on the TWP site. However we know that they are moving ahead with the projects shown on the map and have probably added more. Western Montana is in the center of the Yellowstone to Yukon project ( Y to Y). Flathead county is targeted by many of the Wildlands Project funders and allied green groups like Alliance For The Wild Rockies. At present the wildlanders are going ahead with mapping and planning as well as organization and propaganda.


1See the pamphlet entitled The Philosophy, Politics and Science of Biological Diversity for a more complete discussion of conservation biology.

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