Climate Change
Alaska Region   

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Photo of a local harvesting eggs.  Link to interviews with Alaska Native Elders.  Photo Credit: USFWS



Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges

Alaska Wildberries.  Credit:  USFWS
Alaska Wildberries. Credit: USFWS

At more than 76 million acres, the National Wildlife Refuge System of Alaska represents 82% of the land base of the Refuge System nationally, and covers 21% of the state of Alaska.  Climate change is the most pervasive and complex conservation challenge ever faced by the more than 100-year old system of protected areas1.  However, in the face of rapid change delaying action could result in irreversible losses to the integrity, diversity, and health of Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.  Alaska’s size, global position, and topography all contribute to the region’s large seasonal, interannual, and spatial climatic variation.  Alaska’s 16 national wildlife refuges conserve a wide range of habitats, ranging from marine systems to boreal forest, wetlands, glaciated mountains, and arctic tundra.  Potential effects of climate change within Alaskan refuges are as diverse as the resources they were designated to protect.

Click on the refuges names below to learn more about the unique conservation challenges each refuge faces and the innovative ways biologists and managers are addressing them.  Check back often as more refuges are added.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Related Links
Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Resources and Ecosystems U.S. Global Change Science Program, Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.4

1 Julius, S.H., J.M. West, G.M. Blate, J.S. Baron, B. Griffith, L.A. Joyce, P. Kareiva, B.D. Keller, M.A. Palmer, C.H. Peterson, and J.M. Scott, 2008: Executive Summary. In:  Preliminary review of adaptation options for climate-sensitive ecosystems and resources.  A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global. Change Research [Julius, S.H., J.M. West (eds.), J.S. Baron, B. Griffith, L.A. Joyce, P.
Kareiva, B.D. Keller, M.A. Palmer, C.H. Peterson, and J.M. Scott (Authors)]. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 1-1 to 1-6.

Last updated: January 30, 2009
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