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Less immigration would save habitat; wildlife

author Published by Henry Barbaro

March 3rd was World Wildlife Day. The day was established by the U.N. in 2013, with the goal of drawing attention to the conservation status of the world’s most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora, and to develop strategies and methods to protect them. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are endangered. World Wildlife Day serves to remind all countries to support the protection and restoration of wildlife habitats and ecosystems.

The United States is no exception – our nation is experiencing its own “biodiversity crisis.” According to the U.S. EPA, our country has over 1,300 endangered (risk of extinction) or threatened (close to being endangered) species. A recent study (2023) found that 40% of animals and 34% of plants nationwide are at risk of extinction. In terms of ecosystems, 51% of grasslands and 40% of forests and wetlands are vulnerable to functional collapse. For example, conversion of grasslands to suburban sprawl and pesticide-intensive agriculture is a major cause behind the loss of 3 billion birds and is why monarch butterflies and vital pollinators are under serious threat.

Conservation Challenge: There is no way to prevent habitat and biodiversity loss in the United States without addressing federal immigration policy. Get the facts.

Although much attention has been paid to climate change as driving environmental degradation, the most critical reason species are being driven to extinction is habitat loss. The entire spectrum of manmade ecosystem alterations, such as timber harvesting, agriculture, and urban sprawl, are largely driven by human population growth.

The most direct and fundamental way to resolve America’s decline in biodiversity is to gradually bring down our high levels of immigration. Habitat loss cannot be stopped as long as immigration (legal and illegal) continues to add roughly three and a half million people every year.

Please send a message to your members of Congress. Urge them to reduce immigration-driven population growth (e.g., eliminate chain migration, tighten the asylum process) and, in the spirit of World Wildlife Day, bring an end to America’s rapid loss of habitat and biodiversity.

More actions here.

Explore more on our Conservation Challenges and Sustainability Initiative pages.

Henry Barbaro is a Wetlands Scientist

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