Policy Brief

Wildlife Conservation Policy Brief

Wildlife Conservation is an area of environmental policy which needs more attention. Wildlife populations have decreased drastically over the years resulting in the extinction of several species of flora and fauna. There are several causes for the endangerment and threat to wildlife species. One major cause is human population growth. As populations increase the need for resources increases. As communities grown and develop, they impede on the habitats of wildlife flora and fauna. One third of all wildlife are undergoing devastating population losses. Many of these are crucial to human food sustainability. The effects of this loss have a great impact on our communities and ecosystems. Wildlife conservation programs need to be improved and supported to protect not only animal species in danger, but our own lives. There are policies and implementations which can help decrease negative effects on wildlife populations as well as grow and protect these populations to combat this global issue. Below are recommendations followed by a breakdown of our conclusions.

Key Information:

  • $1.4 billion dollars annual will be provided to support wildlife recovery
  • 12,000 species have been identified for conservation focus
  • One-third of America’s wildlife is at risk. An additional 500 species have gone unsighted for decades.
  • Creation of education and recreation projects
  • Provide regulation by preventing species from reaching populations which would qualify them to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Allot 10% of annual funds toward grant programs aimed at developing cooperation across states and territories.
  • $97.5 million in dedicated funding for tribes to utilize on species recovery.

The Issue: Habitat loss and fragmentation reduce habitat area size, quality, and breeding grounds. Isolation created by fragmentation prevent wildlife from moving causing inbreeding and depletion of resources. This increases mortality rates.

Humans play a role in fragmentation. As human populations increase, resource demands increase in turn forcing us to use more land. Development of lands cause habitats to become smaller and more isolated.

  • Not all species are threatened by fragmentation. Species which do not move far away or maintain small habitat circles are often unaffected. This is also true of some plants.  

Recent Policies:

In 2000 the Wildlife Action Plans were established. These provide federal funding to states for the use of wildlife conservation. This ignited states to create conservation strategies across the nation for the first time.

In 2015 the Paris Agreement which targeted combatting climate change was passed by the United Nations. Climate change is one of the largest threats to wildlife and their habitats.

Currently the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is being proposed. This addresses the threats facing fish and wildlife in the United States. It dedicates $1.3 billion annually to agencies and tribes for conservation projects which restore and maintain American wildlife. The goal is to bring many species back from the brink of extinction.

Another proposed bill is the Wildlife Corridors Conservation which advocates for wildlife resources to include habitat space and infrastructure to create better cohabitation with humans.

Recommendations:.

Mitigation: Land managers can make informed decisions to manage habitats while supporting communities. Urban greenspace can reduce fragmentation.

  • Protect: protect existing natural land spaces.
  • Wildlife corridors: strips of land connecting habitats
  • Land acquisition: Government and privately protected lands for habitat conservation
  • Restoration: converting previously developed land back to its natural state
  • Zoning: addition of wildlife into local development plans
  • Buffer Zones: areas created to reduce the impact of localities on wildlife habitats.

Conclusion: Introduced by Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska)  in July of 2019, The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide funding to states, territories and tribes within the United States to restore and maintain habitats by implementing conservation strategies. Recommended by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Blue Ribbon Panel the bill identifies funding and plans. This would be an amendment to the Moving Forward Act which authorizes funds for federal highways, highway safety programs, transit programs and other purposes. The act would enhance the nations conservation efforts ensuring long-term heal for wildlife generations across the country. This act allows for the protection of wildlife while continuing to forge the path for community infrastructure and growing human needs.

To better integrate knowledge from policy makers, communities, and researchers need to better balance the needs of poverty alleviation and wildlife conservation. This helps communities and policy makers improve wildlife health and habitat. Only recently have communities and policy makers been part of the research processes surrounding pastoralists and rangelands. This lack of connection and integration is an issue now beginning to be worked on globally. After completing a research study of four areas it was concluded that this model of approach needs to be implemented however, active recruitment of researchers by community member. As humans who rely on the earth’s natural resources we are heavily impacted by wildlife which maintain the balances of nature to promote and maintain these resources. As and policy makers is needed to clarify, understand and solve the problems facing wildlife.

References

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3742

https://www.nwf.org/Our-Work/Wildlife-Conservation/Policy/Recovering-Americas-Wildlife-Act

https://debbiedingell.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2550

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2/text

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/wildlife-conservation/

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ecosystem/

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/urban-regeneration-and-greenspace-partnership/greenspace-in-practice/practical-considerations-and-challenges-to-greenspace/habitat-fragmentation-practical-considerations/

https://www.fws.gov/refuges/history/chron/chron_1900_fs.html

https://www.nwf.org/-/media/Documents/PDFs/Wildlife-Conservation/NWF-National-Policy-Agenda-2019.ashx

https://aldf.org/article/laws-that-protect-animals/

Brearley, Rhodes. “Wildlife Disease Prevalence in Human-Modified Landscapes.” Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 88.2 (2013): 427–442. Web.

Galvin, Kathleen A. et al. Fragmentation in Semi-Arid and Arid Landscapes Consequences for Human and Natural Systems . Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2008. Web.

Said, Ogutu. “Effects of Extreme Land Fragmentation on Wildlife and Livestock Population Abundance and Distribution.” Journal for nature conservation 34 (2016): 151–164. Web.

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