Saturday, April 27, 2013

Can a national strategy help wildlife adapt to climate change?

Alicia Graef in Care2: ... Experts are worried about how the natural world will continue to adapt and how we will feel the effects of those changes and, as common sense would dictate, they believe we need to start taking steps now to safeguard the natural resources that communities, economies and wild animals rely on.

In response to a call in 2010 from Congress for a nationwide conservation plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the New York Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, along with a diverse team of state and tribal experts, put their collective expertise together and gathered input from non-profits, resource managers and 55,000 Americans to create The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.

...“The health and vitality of our nation’s natural resources are important components of our overall social and economic welfare,” said Eric Schwaab, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA. “As resource trustees, we have an obligation to understand, consider and minimize all the potential impacts, including those from climate change. This new strategy will help us meet those challenges and empower current and future generations to be better stewards of our priceless resources and cherished landscapes amidst a rapidly changing world.”

The Strategy points out that most of the current laws, policies and regulations we have in place weren’t developed with the understanding we now have of climate change and how it impacts the environment and wildlife.

The authors hope to see a coordinated effort from policy makers, natural resource managers, private land owners and the public in seven key areas: increasing conservation efforts, updating approaches to species and habitat management, updating conservation laws and policies, supporting coordinated management efforts, improving information sharing, increasing public awareness and involvement and reducing non-climate stressors that are hurting plants and wildlife, such as pollution, illegal trade, invasive species and disease....

An elk herd in Yellowstone National Park, shot by Anayst, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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