Nov 29, 2010 - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has posted new web pages that describe its efforts to respond to climate change and related environmental challenges. The BLM’s Climate Change Home Page is found at www.blm.gov.
“Public lands managed by the BLM are facing widespread environmental challenges that transcend traditional management boundaries,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “These challenges include managing wildfire, controlling weeds and insect outbreaks, providing for energy development, and addressing impacts from climate change.”
These new web pages highlight two connected initiatives the BLM is undertaking to address these complex resource management issues. One initiative is the preparation of science assessments, called Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs), to improve the understanding of ecological conditions, how they might be affected by climate change and other environmental trends, and to inform future management actions.
The second initiative is the development of a proposed landscape approach for managing public lands. A landscape approach looks across large geographic areas to identify important ecological values and patterns of environmental change that may not be evident when managing smaller, local land areas. A landscape approach uses this broader understanding of the environment to inform, focus, and coordinate management efforts on-the-ground.
“The REAs and proposed landscape approach offer a way to integrate the BLM’s conservation, restoration, and development programs in a cohesive manner,” said Abbey. “An integrated approach is essential to sustain the diverse values and uses of public lands, and meet the Nation’s energy needs, in an era of profound environmental change.”
The BLM, an agency of the Department of the Interior, manages more land – 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this land is managed for multiple uses, such as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production; the BLM also conserves natural, historical, and cultural resources on these lands. The NRCS (formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service), an agency of the Department of Agriculture, works with private landowners through conservation planning and assistance to ensure that rangeland resources are managed in a sustainable manner.
The BLM manages more land - more than 245 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.