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FWC announces publication of Climate Change Summit Report

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hosted “Florida’s Wildlife: On the front line of climate change” summit in Orlando last year and recently published a report on the event.

The report summarizes information from presentations and discussions in the workshops conducted during the summit in Orlando in October 2008. It also identifies some of the concerns that emerged after three days of discussions about potential impacts of climate change for Florida’s fish and wildlife resources.

{sidebar id=1}Climate change experts from around the state and country attended the summit to share their knowledge of how to manage fish and wildlife as the climate changes. Keynote speakers included two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Drs. Virginia Burkett and Jean Brennan.

This summit was the first one in the nation to put a fish and wildlife face on climate change to help managers understand specifically what climate change may mean for Florida panthers, manatees, gopher tortoises and other species. The summit ended with a set of suggested actions, which included management strategies that are dynamic, environmentally sensitive, conservation-focused and Florida-specific.

Florida’s geography and diverse ecosystems place the state in a frontline position for experiencing the effects of climate change, making it a key place to learn about the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife.

Workshop leaders synthesized the summit’s conclusions with a vision of Florida “where protected healthy, functional, adaptive and richly diverse connected ecosystems are in balance with the needs of people.”

FWC Executive Director Ken Haddad established a Climate Change Steering Committee almost immediately after the summit. This committee is charged with integrating climate change into the FWC’s agency structure to manage fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.

“The FWC is committed to developing a comprehensive plan of action for Florida to address the impacts of climate change on its fish and wildlife resources,” Haddad said. “Our summit was the first step in helping the FWC develop climate change strategies to ensure the best possible future for Florida’s wildlife.”

The steering committee has appointed several agency teams on climate change. As they develop materials, the FWC’s Climate Change Web site will host informative pieces on the work being done to manage wildlife for resiliency and adaptation. Visit and click on “Climate Change: Wildlife on the front line.”

This article originally published on June 18, 2009.

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