The new issue of the magazine published by the National Wildlife Federation (National Wildlife) features one incredible series of photo spreads by the 2008 Conservation Photographer of the Year, Florian Schulz. The pictures, taken from his book Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam, bring to life the best of the American and Canadian West: incredible viewscapes and vistas, wildlife freely moving in its own habitat, an astonishing sky lit by lightning and the Northern Lights. The book includes essays by some of the Rocky Mountains’ most well-known writers: David Quammen, Rick Bass, and others.

But even more interesting is the article attached to the photos, which discusses the decade-old attempt by a group of scientists to build a wildlife conservation corridor all the way from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, through the northern edge of the Yukon Territory.

The project, called the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative or Y2Y, has studied issues such as habitat fragmentation through roads and development, and the impact of various human activity on wildlife populations throughout the proposed corridor.

It’s a fascinating project, and expands tremendously our already outdated ideas of how we preserve wilderness and habitat. When Yellowstone National Park was formed, for example, its borders were based more on its natural beauties than on the entire range used by animals such as elk and bison that draw so many visitors to the area. The work of many has led to the formation of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, which is working to protect an area that reaches far beyond National Park boundaries.

The photographer Florian Schulz came from Germany and fell in love with the West. His other love, photography, has not only become the work of his life, but through this book and others will have a huge impact on the public’s awareness of the issues facing some of the world’s most amazing ecosystems, and what they can do to help preserve them.