Can It Be Done? Safeguarding Wildlife from Climate Change

Regardless of the reckless falsehoods spewed by climate deniers it is well known to scientists and conservationists that climate change is putting wildlife at risk.

The melting Arctic ice has been shrinking polar bear habitat for decades ; climate change is putting natural fire regimes in the West on steroids, morphing them into catastrophic fires impacting wildlife, like those currently burning in Colorado and New Mexico, and insufferably high heat in Minnesota is causing the state’s moose populations to crash.

Is there hope?  I think so.

There are two primary tactics for addressing climate change, and both must be implemented.

One, is to reduce our carbon pollution that is fueling climate change.

Second, is to safeguard wildlife from the climate change that is already happening and will continue to happen as a result of carbon pollution already in the atmosphere.  Safeguarding wildlife means taking management actions that will help wildlife adapt to climate change, such as providing vegetative shading on trout streams to help keep the water cool.  It turns out, a whole lot can be done to safeguard wildlife from climate change.

The National Wildlife Federation’s affiliate organizations, which set NWF conservation policies, just last month approved a new policy position calling for action to safeguard wildlife from climate change.

A critical action from the policy perspective is supporting the completion and implementation of the federal government’s National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.  Just as important is urging states to complete state adaptation plans and integrate consideration of climate change into both new and existing and natural resource management plans.  Federal and state conservation plans that account for climate change will help protect people, wildlife and property from climate impacts.

Wildlife need our help if they are to thrive in the rapidly changing climate mankind is forcing on them.  It’s time to reduce our carbon pollution, and to take action to safeguard wildlife from climate change.  Don’t you think so?



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Published: June 27, 2012