Climate Resilience with Wildlife at the Helm

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) supports climate resilience and mitigation innovation across North America and globally. WCS is using cutting-edge science to understand the impacts of climate change on wildlife and natural resources, plan conservation for a rapidly changing world, and implement on-the-ground solutions to protect ecosystems. From conserving intact forests to partnering with local communities and governments, WCS is working across a diverse portfolio of solutions to fight the climate crisis. 


One of the ways WCS advances the implementation of climate adaptation strategies in the U.S. is through its Climate Adaptation Fund, which has been awarding grants to support on-the-ground projects designed to help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change since 2011. In 2018, WCS created a new project category, “joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA),” dedicating a portion of its funding to projects that advance both climate adaptation and mitigation outcomes. JMA unites these two important fields of practice as a pathway for maximizing nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

To date, WCS has provided $19.6 million in funding to more than 104 ground-breaking science-based projects across the country, using both new and traditional tools to help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change.   

For example, WCS worked with the Grand Canyon Trust to reintroduce beaver to 87 creeks and waterways in Southern Utah. Reintroducing beaver can help form ponds, wetlands, and meadows, as well as expand riparian habitat along rivers and streams. Beavers can be critical to restoring and protecting aquatic ecosystems. By building dams, they help hold water in mountain areas that will be increasingly impacted by climate change, while also providing new habitat for fish and wildlife. Restoring trees and grasses along rivers also helps sequester more carbon on the land. 

In Texas, the Climate Adaptation Fund has funded an American Forests project to restore 270 acres of degraded ranchland to thornscrub forest in South Texas. The project will plant 270,000 seedlings that are well-adapted to future climate conditions, and that will store nearly 100,000 tons of carbon in soil organic matter.  At the same time, these restored forests will help safeguard the area’s water supply, reduce flooding risks, and protect a crucial habitat for more than 500 species of songbirds, 300 species of butterflies, and 11 endangered or threatened species. 

The WCS Climate Adaptation Fund is a program made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

Learn more about more of WCS’Climate Adaptation Fund 

Learn more about American Forests’ work to restore thornforests in the Lower Rio Grande Valley 

Learn more about the Grand Canyon Trust’s Work to restore beaver populations