As climate change continues to influence ecosystems around the world, wildlife species will be under increasing pressure to adapt.
Wildlife managers face the growing challenge of helping wildlife populations and ecosystems respond to climate change. We are collaborating with regional partners to provide tools and guidance to support wildlife managers in designing and implementing actions for climate change adaptation.
Climate change can affect wildlife in a variety of ways, including both direct impacts like temperature-induced heat stress and indirect effects like shifting availability of food sources. Wildlife species may be more or less vulnerable to climate change depending on unique species traits, changes in habitat (food, water, and cover), and interactions with competitors and other stressors.
- Wildlife and Climate Change on the Climate Change Resource Center
- National Climate Assessment (2018) Chapter 7: Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity
- Integrating Climate Change into Northeast and Midwest State Wildlife Action Plans
- The USDA Forest Service Climate Change Bird Atlas
- Regional forest ecosystem vulnerability assessments for the Midwest and Northeast
Adaptation in Action
Wildlife professionals need actionable information to manage populations and habitat. We developed a menu of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches designed specifically for wildlife management. The Wildlife Adaptation Menu is an extensive collection of climate change adaptation actions for wildlife management, organized into tiers of general and more specific ideas. The menu draws upon an extensive literature review that captured adaptation recommendations from scientific publications. It is focused on terrestrial wildlife, including adaptation actions related to managing populations as well as habitats.
The Wildlife Adaptation Menu is designed to be used with the Adaptation Workbook, and it can help wildlife managers understand and apply a wide variety of climate-informed actions that support wildlife and habitat management.
Read an article about the literature review of wildlife adaptation recommendations:
- Citation: LeDee, O.E., Handler, S.D., Hoving, C.L., Swanston, C.W. and Zuckerberg, B. 2021. Preparing Wildlife for Climate Change: How Far Have We Come? Jour. Wild. Mgmt., 85: 7-16. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21969
Read an article about the development and testing of the Wildlife Adaptation Menu:
- Citation: Handler, S.D., Ledee, O.E., Hoving, C.L., Zuckerberg, B., and Swanston, C.W. 2022. A menu of climate change adaptation actions for terrestrial wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin e1331. https://doi.org/10.1002/wsb.1331
NIACS is beginning to work with wildlife managers to create real-world adaptation projects using the wildlife adaptation menu. Here are a few examples:
The Wildlife Adaptation Menu has been created by a core team of collaborators, including staff from the USGS Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, and USDA Forest Service.
Work with Us
We provide training and technical assistance to natural resource professionals and land owners to support climate-informed land management. Examples of our work with wildlife professionals include:
- Helping wildlife managers prioritize climate change risks related to their work.
- Developing climate-informed habitat management plans for federal, state, or tribal management areas.
- Adjusting population recovery plans based on climate change projections.