Surrogate Species and Strategic Habitat Conservation
The challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service faces in accomplishing our mission are immense and growing. Chief among them are increasing demands for water, energy and other resources in a growing global and domestic population; current and anticipated impacts of climate change on habitats and species; the loss of habitat from changes in land use, contaminants, and invasive species; and the difficult economic realities at home and abroad.
Achieving maximum conservation impact with the resources available requires that we make thoughtful choices. Choosing species where we can make progress working across Service programs and with our partners - using vulnerability assessments and conservation success probabilities to guide us, and focusing on a subset that we can address within our budget limitations - will lead to conservation successes.
Surrogate species can help us work with partners to collectively meet the conservation needs of the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants. A surrogate species approach to conservation management reduces the burden of addressing the conservation requirements of many species individually. A single surrogate can represent multiple species or aspects of the environment, allowing resource managers to target their resources for maximum conservation gains.
Surrogate species are one component of Strategic Habitat Conservation.