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Protecting and Restoring Habitat

Wide swaths of dead whitebark pine. Grizzly bears depend on a diet primarily of grasses, bulbs, bugs, elk, trout—and highly nutritious seeds of the whitebark pine tree.

Wide swaths of dead whitebark pine. Grizzly bears depend on a diet primarily of grasses, bulbs, bugs, elk, trout—and highly nutritious seeds of the whitebark pine tree.

Roy Renkin / NPS Photo

Earthjustice is working to reduce the pressures that are driving endangered species towards extinction—including the greatest of all threats: climate change.

Climate change is already shaping the ecosystems that our precious flora and fauna depend upon. Milder winters in the Rocky Mountains and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, for example, have led to sustained infestations of the mountain pine beetle, which has killed huge numbers of whitebark pine trees. Because grizzly bears rely on the whitebark pine seed as a staple food source, they now face food shortages as a result of the dead trees.

Across the nation, scores of species face a similarly daunting future. Unless we find ways to build resilience to climate change by removing threats that degrade their habitat and restoring habitat that can sustain them, we will lose them altogether.

Scientists estimate that 21 to 52 percent of the species on Earth will go extinct if global warming approaches 3°C by the end of the century.

Earthjustice is protecting and restoring habitat by:

  1. Strengthening protections for key wild lands that are critical for species’ survival.
  2. Preserving refugia—areas in which a population of a particular species can survive during unfavorable conditions brought on by global warming.
  3. Connecting migration corridors, which will allow species to move through a network of ecologically rich habitats that are uninterrupted by human development.
  4. Reducing other stressors, such as fossil fuel development, deforestation and irrigation, which disrupt habitats that are critically important to the long-term survival of species.