Conserving the Nature of America
New Guide Helps Conservationists Address Uncertain Future

July 15, 2014


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A new publication by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) aims to help natural resource managers plan for a variety of long-term threats to America’s wildlife and habitats.

The publication, Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation, addresses a host of unprecedented challenges to wildlife, from climate change to invasive species, habitat fragmentation to wildfires and more. All of these stand to impose significant changes on the American landscape.

“How landowners, conservationists and natural resource managers respond to issues such as climate change will be critical to maintaining both our native animal and plant biodiversity and the way of life for millions of Americans,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Scenario planning helps environmental professionals prepare for the future in the midst of uncertainty, and provides conservation leaders with the tools they need to respond to these threats.”

The publication will help managers understand the core elements of scenario planning and how it differs from other decision-support frameworks, identify approaches that fit their needs, and get started on their own scenario planning effort. It also includes 12 case studies representing a range of scenario planning approaches for natural resource and conservation issues across the country.

"Individuals from a number of state and federal agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs contributed to the guide, helping us maximize its practical value for use by conservation practitioners,” said WCS North America Program Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator Molly Cross. “We hope that this guide will help more people understand what scenario planning is, how it can benefit their work, and get started tackling the difficult challenge of managing and conserving wildlife, wild places, and important natural resources in an era of climate change."

The report was subjected to the official U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) peer review process and was produced in conjunction with USGS and the University of Arizona, Tucson. The project was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Download the full report here: Scenario Planning Document.pdf

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