Ways to help wildlife adapt to a warmer world

As the world gets warmer, strategies for helping wildlife adapt.

The pine siskin of the northwestern US is threatened by the fragmentation of pine forest.

At least 18 strategies for adaptive wildlife management were put forward in a 2008 study by the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment.

Among them:

–  Add more protected areas.

–  Conserve multiple examples of each ecosystem type.

–  Manage and restore existing protected areas for maximum resilience.

–  Design new natural areas and restoration sites to maximize resilience. For example, restore marsh communities behind gently sloped and undeveloped ocean shorelines (those most likely to be affected by sea-level rise) rather than fortify existing beaches. Preparing for the change in this way will mitigate the effects when they arrive.

–  Increase landscape “connectivity” and permeability so animals can migrate more freely. Remove dams and fish ladders in rivers, for instance.

–  Protect wildlife corridors and “stepping stone” habitat islands to serve as stopovers for migratory waterfowl and for land-based species as they seek cooler climates.

–  Reduce nonclimate stressors such as invasive species, chemical contaminants, and catastrophic wildfires.

Editor’s note: See also Mark Clayton's main article, Saving wildlife in a warmer world.

For more articles about the environment, check out the Monitor’s main environment page. Also, visit our Bright Green blog archive and our RSS feed.

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