Habitat loss and fragmentation make it increasingly difficult for wildlife to maintain the migration patterns that are essential to their survival, especially for big game species that need to move safely across large landscapes. This loss of habitat creates a serious threat to wildlife populations, increasing risk of endangerment and even extinction. When a habitat is dramatically changed, it may no longer provide the food, water, shelter, and resources needed by wildlife to survive and thrive. As the West’s population continues to grow, pressure on wildlife from human development will only increase.
Biodiversity is critical to protect the integrity of our ecosystems. And with 1 million species of plants and animals now threatened with extinction, urgent action is needed. Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity – and is driving the rapid decline of species. Protecting intact landscapes is necessary for the health of our rivers, lakes, and water supplies across the West. These landscapes and native vegetation play a vital role in combating the climate crisis, helping sequester and deposit carbon, and providing an important offset for human climate pollution.
Western Way of Life
Outdoor recreation is an essential way that we engage with our natural and cultural heritage. Whether you prefer hiking a mountain trail, kayaking down a scenic river, or skiing the snow-capped slopes, the West provides exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities – which also attract visitors from around the world. In turn, this bolsters local economies. Identifying and protecting critical habitats for wildlife also helps ensure species survive, maintaining our Western traditions like hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. But climate change represents a serious threat to the enjoyment we derive from outdoor recreation and, as a result, the viability of local businesses and communities that recreation supports. The protection and restoration of our lands is crucial to the economic and recreational livelihood of our communities.