SHANGRI-LA, CHINA—High on the Tibetan Plateau, Helia Environmental director Lloyd Raleigh and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) staff met with a group of village leaders as part of a regional planning process. The overall goals of the process were to increase the capacity and sustainability of local communities and to protect biodiversity in one of WWF’s Global 200 ecoregions. For months, Raleigh and WWF staff gathered nature reserve staff, local monasteries, government officials, villagers, and nomads, who consider the forests and meadows of Baimaxueshan Nature Reserve their home.
Nature reserve staff and villagers develop meaningful relationships through regular interaction and participation in community events.
“Working with all stakeholders as well as staff allows for everyone to understand each other early in the planning process. Good communication, teamwork, and participation are necessary for successful outcomes,” says Raleigh. By addressing community needs in a collaborative and empowering way, rare species and forest ecosystems are protected.
After the public involvement process was completed, WWF staff and Raleigh worked on a successful grant application to fund empowerment and stewardship projects throughout the ecoregion, which initiated the founding of the Shangri-la Institute.
“Lloyd has an ability to work with a very diverse group in complex, sometimes difficult situations. His positive attributes made a deep impression on us and remain an inspiration for all of us,” said Liu Yunhua, director of the Shangri-la Institute.
Water resources and hydrology are an important part of planning for a variety of reasons including water quality and quantity, water uses, neighbor relations, recreation, fisheries, energy production, and rare species protection. The Southern Appalachians are a global hotspot for aquatic invertebrates and salamanders.
Understanding resources, natural processes, and the human dimension is necessary for planning. Not only ‘experts’ can understand these processes, but also stakeholders involved in planning benefit from knowledge of the key factors that affect planning. Fire, for example, is a natural process and management tool that requires significant care in its planning and appropriate implementation. Helia Environmental has extensive experience with prescribed fire planning and habitat management.
Lloyd Raleigh is one of the most innovative environmental planners and ecologists that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He takes a pragmatic and insightful approach to habitat management challenges. Lloyd uses “common person” language to describe complex ecological research and stewardship practices and takes the necessary time to meet with stakeholders before, during and after the development of planning documents to assure that all points of view have been heard. Mr. Raleigh’s approach to developing management plans is commonsense and straightforward. After spending more than 35 years as a wildlife management professional, I wish that more ecologists and planners would adopt Lloyd’s approach to planning and habitat management!
Southeast Regional Director
The Trustees of Reservations