Nonprofit gives Arizona low marks for conservation efforts in latest report
The Center for Western Priorities has released a study ranking Western states on conservation efforts in the last decade, and Arizona did not fare well.
The nonprofit ranked Arizona 10th out of 11 Western states.
Conservationists say that preservation has become more important in the face of climate change, because most public lands remain open to oil and gas development, a significant source of greenhouse gasses.
Global warming has become intertwined with other problems, and preserving habitat can have enormous benefits, said Aaron Weiss, of the Center for Western Priorities.
"There are two intertwined crises happening right now," Weiss said. "There’s the climate crisis, and there's the nature crisis, which some scientists have described as the beginnings of a sixth mass extinction."
He says that state and local leaders can exert a lot of influence in the conservation of federal public lands.