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Adapting to Climate Change

Cover shot of the FWC's "Guide to Climate Change Adaptation for Conservation"

Florida is home to an incredible diversity of native fish and wildlife including 386 species of birds, 86 species of mammals, 90 species of reptiles, 136 species of fish and 56 species of amphibians. Rising temperatures and sea level will likely change the makeup of entire ecosystems, forcing wildlife to shift their ranges or adapt. Adaptation involves minimizing the impacts of climate change already set in motion.

Climate change is proceeding at a pace in which there will be unavoidable impacts to natural systems and fish and wildlife habitat. The effects of climate change are already being felt by wildlife and natural systems, and even with immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions those effects will continue for decades to come. Florida's natural resource managers are now coming to grips with what this means for the state's fish, wildlife and habitats.

Climate change effects include changing rainfall patterns, rising temperatures and sea level, changing ocean chemistry, more wildfires, stronger hurricanes and increased droughts. These and other effects are predicted to intensify in the coming decades and significantly impact wildlife and ecosystems. Some uncertainty remains regarding exactly how these impacts will occur, but there is enough information now to begin planning and adapting to these changes.

To prepare for the anticipated impacts of climate change, the FWC has incorporated climate change into Florida's State Wildlife Action Plan.  The FWC has also completed their "Guide to Climate Change Adaptation for Conservation" to provide resources to learn about modeled climate impacts to Florida, ecological consequences to species and habitats, vulnerability assessments and adaptation strategies. This document will be a living document with adaptation strategies being added as new strategies are developed.