How to conserve...

- Katie Burton Editor

We talk a lot about conservati­on in the pages of Geographic­al, and sometimes the right thing to do is very clear. It might be a simple case of preserving a habitat, or carving out a bit more space for nature. Sadly, however, protecting the natural world is more often a fraught endeavour. The internatio­nal agreement CITES (the Convention on Internatio­nal Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) entered into force in 1975 and was designed to smooth progress towards protecting at-risk species. By preventing trade in endangered plants and animals the concept of ‘wildlife crime’ became well-known. There have been huge successes (though few unmitigate­d ones). It is now impossible to trade in animal parts or whole specimens of hundreds of creatures without severe penalties. The internatio­nal ivory trade ban has gone some way to lessening the appeal when it comes to killing elephants and rhinos. But, as Roman Goergen finds on page 46, CITES is now cracking under the pressure of its huge mandate. It’s a story about one herd of elephants, a lot of paperwork and a philosophi­cal debate. Should all trade in wildlife be prevented and the lives of individual animals treasured? Or, can a system work in which both trade and flourishin­g ecosystems occur?

Elsewhere, it’s human lives under strain. Despite the fact that global warming is all about – well – warming, the impact of heat on our communitie­s has received less attention than other disasters. Yet as Catherine Early says on page 38, heat is the climate crisis’ biggest killer. She takes a look at what cities around the world are doing to push back against soaring temperatur­es. Finally, like so many others, our minds and newsfeeds have been full this month with the war in Ukraine. We turn to our columnists Marco Magrini ( page 9) and Tim Marshall ( page 14) for their takes.

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