Wildlife managers routinely possess the know-how to enhance ecological conditions, but they all too often face financial constraints to implementing those best practices. Significant belt-tightening has become the norm for wildlife agencies and conservation non-profits in recent years, especially since the 2008 recession and the era of partisan gridlock in Washington. Declining budgets have made proactive conservation measures increasingly difficult, irrespective of recent, impressive advances in the science of wildlife management.
In recent years, many within the fish and wildlife management community have questioned the validity of marketing as a legitimate tool in the resource management toolbox. Yet, as the conservation community is battling the issue of its relevance to the American public, it has become abundantly clear that our fish and wildlife agencies’ management methods, as well as our nation’s natural resources, are misunderstood and undervalued by the general public. The conservation community conserves and manages natural resources in public trust for their constituents.
Energy development in the United States continues to evolve as our nation’s energy policies are being shaped by a variety of economic, political, and societal pressures. Energy sources are becoming more and more diversified, but the impacts of new energy generation technologies on wildlife and the environment are not well understood. Although the United States has benefited from meeting more of its energy demand from within its boundaries, wildlife and natural resource management agencies are seeking best practices for conservation as energy developers deploy their technologies.
Conservation is facing a crisis of relevance. Recent research has revealed that North Americans lack first-hand experience with nature, and current social and political discourse has failed to make the connection between conservation and human health, economic prosperity, and social justice. Although some polls indicate that North Americans “care” about conservation, their actions reflect either ignorance or apathy with respect to the impact of their lifestyle choices on the environment.