A sweeping new Obama administration strategy to protect plants, fish and animals from the hazards of global warming would require the government to set aside millions of acres of land to preserve threatened habitat.
“More than millions of acres across the landscape will be required,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The lands will be protected by easement, by land acquisitions, by local, by land trusts, by state agencies, by federal agencies,” he told reporters in releasing a 120-page National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, in the works for four years.
“We’re doing it for wildlife preservation and we’re thinking about climate,” he added.
Under Obama, 4.5 million acres in 10 national wildlife refuges have already been set aside in part to ease the pressure of global warming on plants, fish and animals, said Ashe. A large purchase in Florida’s Everglades, for example, is aimed in part at preserving grasses that can help prevent rising water from flooding the area and destroying animal habitat.
The new strategy, produced by several federal and state agencies and tribal groups, would expand that program to protect habitat under global warming pressure and used by everything from butterflies and robins to foxes and even coral. For example, more habitat for grizzly bears would be set aside so they can move north as their habitat warms.
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