Conservation in a Changing Climate
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FWS Climate Change Principles:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency born of ecological crisis and raised on the nation’s will to respond.  The Service’s genesis was the federal response in 1871 to the collapse in the nation’s food fishes from overharvesting, and its mandate was to find ways to reverse that decline.  By the early 1900s, a crisis over the decimation of migratory birds for their plumes prompted the development of a national system of lands and waters set aside as refuges for wildlife and the passage of the first federal wildlife laws.  By the mid-1960s, the loss and threat of loss of species of fish and wildlife from human-induced pressures grew the Service’s mission to also include the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species.

At the dawn of the 21st century, the Service faces what portends to be the greatest challenge to fish and wildlife conservation in its history: The Earth’s climate is changing at an accelerating rate that has the potential to cause abrupt changes in ecosystems and contribute to widespread species extinctions.  In turn, these changes will adversely affect local, state, tribal, regional, national and international economies and cultures; and will diminish the goods, services, and social benefits natural systems provide to people across the globe. 

As the nation’s principle federal conservation agency, the Service is dedicated to helping reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. Our 8,000 employees specialize in wildlife management and ecosystem dynamics, and have an extensive network of partners who work alongside us to ensure the sustainability of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.

Last updated: November 13, 2012

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