Monday, April 25, 2011

When sea level rise threatens the habitat of endangered species

Is it smart to try to protect a wildlife refuge against sea level rise? What can you do, build a dike? It sounds futile, but what if the refuge is one of the last remaining homes for a critically endangered species like the red wolf?

Refuge managers are facing these questions and some are deciding that they have to plan for a future that includes a rising ocean flooding vital habitat.

Some are trying natural strategies for reducing impacts, such as restoring natural processes that can slow the habitat loss. Others are planning for finding new suitable habitats on higher ground, where wildlife can establish as old habitat is flooded.

Either way, there's little doubting of human-caused sea level rise, just a grim acceptance and a plan for the future.

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