How Our Habitat Mission Links to Climate Policy

83763f54-ff96-4ab7-963d-b62459c9f53c

The Habitat Organization joins 40+ other conservation organizations addressing climate resiliency: What PF/QF already does is the right thing. 

By Bethany Erb and Jim Inglis

For over 30 years our community of sportsmen and sportswomen have put conservation programs in the ground that have contributed to climate resiliency. These ecosystem-based solutions have worked for pheasants, quail and all upland wildlife.

Recognizing the important environmental contributions that Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever currently make and want to enhance, we have joined a group of more than 40 respected conservation organizations on a document designed for policy makers in Washington, D.C., called Sportsmen and Sportswomen’s Statement on Climate.

Our intent in this process is to enhance and accelerate what we already do. We plan to engage policy makers in an effort to continue assisting farmers, ranchers and landowners in achieving conservation outcomes that enhance their operations, reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and benefit wildlife … while at the same time contributing to climate resiliency. We will continue working with ag industry to bring new precision technologies and strategies to the farm, while finding mutually beneficial opportunities for wildlife habitat. Our pledge to the nation’s farmers, ranchers and policy makers: Creating burdensome regulations or inhibiting agricultural production opportunities has never been, and never will be, be part of our agenda.
 
Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever are science-based non-profit conservation organizations. All the available science about today’s environmental issues (water quality, soil health, wildlife habitat and climate) points to delivering the PF & QF habitat mission as a major part of the solution to these issues. These solutions involve public and especially private lands. 

A nonpartisan climate discussion, both locally and nationally, is an opportunity for our organization to create wildlife habitat. And just like the web of life, when we create habitat for pheasants and quail, we’re also delivering water, soil, wildlife and climate benefits far beyond our beloved gamebirds.  

The Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever wildlife habitat mission doesn’t change at all to address climate resiliency. The work we do already for pheasants, quail, sage grouse, prairie chickens, pollinators and monarch butterflies … and all the other upland wildlife that benefits … is critical no matter what a person does or doesn’t believe about climate change.

The habitat work we do to create brood cover for pheasants and quail since our 1982 beginnings are identical to what’s needed for a multitude of species. Restored prairie, grasslands and wetlands, along with healthy forest lands, sequester carbon. For example: It is estimated that CRP alone captures over 50 million metric tons of carbon annually. Pheasant and quail habitat can do all of this while supporting rural economies.

To that end: PF & QF believes that a fully enrolled and in fact expanded Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is essential . . . for the birds, the butterflies, the bees, water quality, soil AND climate.

Our conservation community recognizes that any comprehensive national strategy to address climate resiliency must include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We also believe this strategy will need to include land- and water-based solutions that harness the power of our natural systems to:

* sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions

* maintain and build climate resiliency – the ability for natural systems to absorb stress and maintain function in the face of external stressors imposed upon them

* ensure adaptive solutions such as managing natural systems for climate impacts 

We support immediate actions at the federal, state, local and private levels to achieve these needed solutions.  And again, we unequivocally believe our favorite wildlife habitat tool – CRP – should be a big part of this approach.

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever have cultivated large networks of partners and volunteers with experience implementing on-the-ground projects and solutions. We know how to achieve results and have the experience to implement proven actions. Additional investments should be made in already existing programs and activities with established funding delivery systems, partner and volunteer networks, and demonstrated track records for implementation and effectiveness. 

Together we can expand these programs to have a much greater impact far more quickly. In other cases, new programs and funding streams will need to be developed to capture the full extent and utility of our natural systems to sequester carbon, bolster climate resiliency, AND create habitat for pheasants, quail and all other upland wildlife.

As we advance in this process we will continue to provide regular updates to our members and if you have any questions please feel free to contact a member of our governmental affairs team: Jim Inglis jinglis@pheasantsforver.org and Bethany Erb berb@pheasantsforever.org.