Why Heart of the Rockies?

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The Heart of the Rockies Initiative brings local wisdom, global perspective and the latest science together to conserve the most valuable private land habitat, at a scale that conserves ecosystems, protects our agricultural heritage, and helps North America adapt to climate change.

What sets this effort apart from others?

THE LAST, BEST CHANCE…
It is far easier to conserve existing ecosystems than try to restore them. Yet with 7 billion people on Earth, large, relatively intact ecosystems are difficult to find. Due to both history and geography, the Rockies of the northern United States and southern Canada are such a place. Our region has both the ecology and geography to provide nature space to adapt, as it can, to the coming era of a warmer climate. Its location at the mid-latitude and its gradient from low-elevation river bottoms to high mountains and plateaus contribute to its ecological resiliency. The Rocky Mountains provide the last, best chance to conserve a functioning, terrestrial ecosystem in North America.

MEASURABLE AND DURABLE…
There is nothing theoretical about our metrics for gauging success. Our partners tally the exact acreages conserved. What’s more, our voluntary conservation agreements are as solid as property rights – passed on from generation to generation, from owner to owner. These successes are as durable as the law itself and are not susceptible to shifting political winds or the whims of the next landowner.

BACKED BY THE BEST SCIENCE…
Of course, the value of land conserved cannot be counted in raw acreage tallies alone – Heart of the Rockies also uses the best available science to protect the most valuable, most strategically important land, both large and small. Our partners work closely with state fish and wildlife managers, the Western Governors Association, and leading university scientists to build and test their conservation strategies. Many of our partner staffers are veteran biologists themselves.

WORLD-CLASS TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS…
Our partners are already doing great things. They recently made history with the largest private land conservation agreements in both the United States (Montana Legacy Project) and Canada (Darkwoods). They have proven that teamwork is essential and that they have the dexterity to work with owners of small, but crucial, properties as well as large corporations and landholders.