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Transboundary Conservation: Security, Civil Society and Cross-Border Collaboration

Lorna Stefanick


This paper examines transboundary conservation initiatives in the Rocky Mountains of North America with a particular focus on the world's first peace park, located on the Alberta-Montana border. The peace park concept envisions the free migration of animals and humans within a select area by removing artificial boundaries and seeks to encourage harmonious relations between countries through co-management of shared ecosystems. As such, Rocky Mountain conservation initiatives are significant because they are a symbol of bilateral cooperation between two countries that claim the world's longest shared border. The so-called "ecosystem approach" to managing a portion of the northern border of the U.S. stands in sharp contrast to other American initiatives that seek to promote national security on its southern frontier by sealing borders, and as a result, dividing ecosystems. More pointedly, the post 9-11 U.S. security focus on illegal immigration and terrorism could cause irreparable damage to the concept of using transborder conservation to foster peace between contiguous nations in other parts of the world. The best hope for success in overcoming these challenges likely rests within civil society, specifically conservationists and their allies on both sides of the border for whom wilderness integrity is the highest priority.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229