Climate Change Effect on Waterfowl: Ducks Unlimited Recognizes Impact on Population and Migration

Climate Change Effect on Waterfowl: Ducks Unlimited Recognizes Impact on Population and Migration

Although involved in conservation efforts for over a century, hunters and anglers have recently become more dedicated to protecting habitats affected by climate change. A recent report, “Seasons’ End: Global Warming’s Threat to Hunting and Fishing” released on April 10, 2008, by the Wildlife Management Institute and eight other hunting and fishing organizations, focuses on the impact of climate change on fish and wildlife.

The new study emphasizes the expected impact on fish and wildlife species, and the future of hunting and fishing. The report’s purpose is to help boost understanding about climate change, the long-range effects and direct and indirect impacts on wildlife habitats. The hunting and fishing organizations aim to educate on climate change impact and generate strategies to face the challenge.

Hunters and Anglers For Conservation

As sportsmen have been amongst the majority of conservationists in North America, providing resources for wildlife habitats and wetland conservation, directing attention to the potential climate change impacts is only second nature. Hunters and anglers pay billions of dollars in license fees and taxes, in order to participate in hunting and fishing activities annually, according to Ducks Unlimited. These citizens are now planning how to face the challenges of climate change, in order to continue their traditions of hunting and fishing.

Ducks Unlimited Report on Waterfowl Habitat Impacts

Ducks Unlimited, which began in 1937, is the “world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetland conservation organization.” Ducks Unlimited has over 700,000 members and 1 million supporters, the majority in the United States and Canada. The organization’s mission is simple: Habitat Conservation.

Ducks Unlimited published its own report on climate change, titled “Conserving Waterfowl and Wetlands Amid Climate Change”. The report outlines the impact of climate change on waterfowl and wetlands, specifically outlining regional habitat impacts for:

  • Prairie Potholes
  • Western Boreal Forests
  • Mississippi Alluvial Valley
  • Gulf Coast
  • California Central Valley
  • U.S. Great Lakes System
  • Pacific Coast
  • Great Basin

The report provides case studies illustrating the climate change impact in each of these regions.

The Ducks Unlimited report also outlines the population and migration changes of waterfowl, ultimately affecting recreational hunting. The potential impacts on waterfowl include:

  • Alterations in forest covered land in Alaska and Canada, habitats for ducks and geese
  • Sea level rise affecting coastal regions from California to Alaska, reducing coastal wetland habitats, used for breeding and migrating ducks and geese.
  • Decreasing water levels in Great Lakes, leading to a decline in decrease in habitat for regional ducks
  • Changes in seasonal climate could shift migration patterns of geese and ducks

Ducks Unlimited Recommendations

Ducks Unlimited has developed a great variety and number of recommendations and strategies to help protect waterfowl and habitat, taking into account, climate change as a fact of science. Some of the recommendations consist of:

  • Informing public policy development, for example federal programs focusing on land management, energy regulation programs, emissions limits policies and others.
  • Recognizing global climate change as a factor in conservation of wetlands, by “incorporating climate change science into conservation planning”
  • Increasing research, and monitoring the impacts of climate change on species, habitats
  • Managing water resource supply and demand
  • Protecting coastal wetlands affected by sea level rise

Ducks Unlimited and other hunting and fishing organization hope to bring more attention to the problem of climate change, urging lawmakers to pass policies on emissions limits or other ways of combating the negative human affects on climate change.

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