Eighty percent of land-dwelling species rely on forests in order to survive. Kirtland’s warblers nest in jack pine forests, primarily in Michigan. Grizzly bears in Montana eat seeds from pine trees in alpine forests. Ocelots in Texas find their mates while traversing thornforests.
Even species that live in the water rely on forests. Fish and sea turtles, for example, benefit from the work forests do to keep their habitat — rivers, streams and lakes — clean. Forests act like a filter. They keep water clean by preventing the runoff of chemicals and soil into waterways.
All are species that people love for many reasons, one which is the opportunity to see and hear them when we are on vacation or hiking and kayaking near our homes.
But many forest-dwelling animals are threatened, largely because of deforestation and forest degradation caused by climate change-induced insects and diseases, droughts and severe wildfires, as well as sprawling development.
- The climate change-induced spread of invasive, non-native species is crowding out native plants and animals from their preferred habitat.
- Populations of forest-dependent wildlife species worldwide declined 53 percent between 1970 and 2014, on average.
- Wildlife species are now going extinct at a rate 1,000 times higher than they would from natural factors.
American Forests has been working on-the-ground for nearly three decades to restore and expand wildlife habitat that supports hundreds of threatened species of wildlife.