National Wildlife Refuge System

Human Dimensions

Climate change, habitat fragmentation, water shortages and invasive species create enormous conservation challenges for the Refuge System. Understanding the social, economic and political contexts in which conservation decisions are made is critical.


The Human Dimensions Branch examines the complex relationships between people and the wildlife and habitats the Refuge System protects.  This enables decision-makers to consider social systems in conservation planning, design and implementation. Both biological and social sciences should inform landscape-scale management of wildlife and their habitats. Building a connected conservation community ensures continued protection of wildlife resources for the American people. provides tools and resources to address the human dimensions of conservation.

Last updated: February 20, 2015