HOW PEOPLE COOPERATE TO MAINTAIN BIODIVERSITY
Concepts: During the 20th century, laws, regulations, and court decisions have done much to promote biodiversity conservation. "From-the-top-down" governmental actions have contributed to development and management of national and state forest and park systems; protection of endangered species and water quality; and open space systems. Private, nongovernmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Lands, and Ducks Unlimited have acquired large amounts of natural areas for conservation purposes, some of which have subsequently been transferred to public agencies. These public and private national efforts are now being increasingly complemented by community-based conservation. The latter is a "from-the bottom-up" approach that combines actions of local "stakeholders" such as landowners, businesses, governmental and nongovernmental organizations with local interests, and individual citizens. These stakeholders usually share a common interest in maintaining and improving the natural parts of the local environment in which they live, work, and recreate. Community-based activities of this sort often generate broad political support. Community-based conservation efforts are now occurring in all quadrants of the Denver Metro Area. The vast amount of land and water required to maintain U.S. biodiversity in natural and seminatural environments, combined with approximately 60% of U.S. land in private ownership (70% in the lower 48 states), argues strongly for increased economic incentives to encourage all land owners to protect biodiversity.