REWILDING THE AMERICAN WEST
|William J Ripple; Oregon State University; email@example.com; Christopher Wolf, Michael K Phillips, Robert L Beschta, John A Vucetich, J Boone Kauffman, Beverly E Law, Aaron J Wirsing, Joanna E Lambert, Elaine Leslie, Carly Vynne, Eric Dinerstein George Wuerthner
From the beginning of the article published by BioScience: After taking office, President Biden signed an executive order announcing his America the Beautiful plan to conserve 30% of US land and water by 2030. He challenged Americans to collaboratively “conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend” at a national scale (US Departments 2021, p. 9). Here, we take a major step in advancing President Biden's plan by envisioning a bold and science-based rewilding of publicly owned federal lands (hereafter, federal lands) in the American West. Beyond concerns for human survival and flourishing, a principled commitment to the natural world and a sense of moral urgency underpins the motivation for our proposal. In general, rewilding aims to reestablish vital ecological processes that can involve removing troublesome nonnative species and restoring key native species. Our rewilding call is grounded in ecological science and is necessary regardless of changing political winds. Our objective is to follow up on President Biden's vision to conserve, connect, and restore by identifying a large reserve network in the American West suitable for rewilding two keystone species, the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the North American beaver (Castor canadensis).