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Nature groups work to stop biodiversity loss, protect America's Amazon with major land purchase

Posted at 1:28 PM, Feb 27, 2024

CLARKE COUNTY, AL — There’s been a lot of focus in recent years on the negative affects of climate change on our planet by global leaders. However, scientists are warning that the loss of biodiversity around the world is also an unprecedented crisis.

The United Nations estimates that more than one million species are on the brink of extinction, affecting our water, soil and nature's ability to adapt to climate change. That's why protecting biodiversity has become an international priority.

However, some groups aren't waiting for governments to act, they're taking matters into their own hands to impact earth.

In Alabama, a major land purchase was approved in February to protect an area known as America's Amazon.

The Nature Conservancy and Patagonia's Holdfast Collective have spent more than $15 million to buy roughly 8,000 acres of land in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta where the Alabama and Tom Bigby rivers meet.

“There are places on Earth that are just special because of the life that they contain, and the Mobile Delta is really one of those places. It is a stopover and transition point for migratory birds,” said Mitchell Reid, the state director for the Nature Conservancy in Alabama. “There are more species of turtles that come from the Mobile Delta than really any other river system in the world and that's including the Amazon.”

Reid says his organization’s strategy in the state has been to protect lands with rich biodiversity, so when this area was put up for sale it was a rare opportunity.

“We're trying to do our part in Alabama by protecting the places that have that biodiversity and prepare for the changing climate,” he said.

The landowner was entertaining an offer to sell the land to a timber developer that would have presumably clear cut this land or parceled it out and sold it, according to Reid.

The Nature Conservancy is now working to conserve the land and parts to the public.

However, that's not the group's only purchase recently. It bought two other pieces of land in the state on Wheeler Mountain and also an area in the Talladega National Forest.

Its peers in South Carolina also recently bought 44 hundred acres of land along the coast, one of the largest undeveloped waterfront properties in the state.

In New York, the group just announced the protection of 14,600 acres in the Adirondacks.

Finally in southern California, the group's Nature Conservancy branch bought 13 hundred acres in proctor valley to protect endangered species.