Wildlife of the US
The U.S. ecology is considered “megadiverse”: about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the contiguous United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of flowering plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland The United States is home to more than 400 mammal, 750 bird, and 500 reptile and amphibian species.About 91,000 insect species have been described. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats, which are monitored by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. There are fifty-eight national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas
Invasive species in the USA
- A thriving population of snakehead fish, a voracious predator from Eurasia capable of eradicating fish species native to the United States, was recently discovered in a pond in Crofton, Md.
- Last summer, 48 humans and countless mammals and birds fell victim to an outbreak of West Nile virus. In the Eastern United States, some 7,000 trees have been destroyed by the Asian longhorn beetle. Hundreds of thousands of acres of trees in the United States may be lost if efforts fail to control this beetle.
The Fish and Wildlife Service manages 550 refuges, encompassing more than 150 million acres of wildlife habitat, within its National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). According to Fiscal Year 2007 data, 2.4 million acres of the NWRS are impacted by invasive plants. In addition there are approximately 4,400 invasive animal populations residing on refuge lands.
Endangered species of the USA
National wildlife refuges are home to more than 280 of the nation’s 1,311 endangered or threatened species. So far, 11 of those species have been removed from the list due to their recovery, and 17 others have improved in status from endangered to threatened. More than 500 listed species are now stable or improving. Fifty-nine national wildlife refuges have been created specifically to help imperiled species. See also which endangered species are found on national wildlife refuges
Birds of the USA
The Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead federal agency for managing and conserving migratory birds in the United States. Conservation of migratory birds is often considered the central connecting theme of the National Wildlife Refuge System. More than 200 National Wildlife Refuges have been established specifically to provide breeding or wintering habitat for migratory birds. More than one million acres of wetlands on 356 refuges and more than 3,000 waterfowl production areas are actively managed for the benefit of waterfowl and other birds.
Did you know that one of every five Americans watches birds? A 2009 report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also shows that these birdwatchers contributed $36 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006. There are more than 48 million people in the United States who identify themselves as birdwatchers. The top five states in birding participation are Montana, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota and Iowa.
From horned puffins in Alaska to roseate spoonbills in the Florida Keys, national wildlife refuges offer opportunities to view hundreds of species of birds. Whether you’re a casual backyard birder or avid enthusiast, you’ll find national wildlife refuges offer outstanding opportunities and facilities to view birds, often year round.
Flora of the USA
The country has more than 17,000 identified native species of flora, including 5,000 in California (home to the tallest, the most massive, and the oldest trees in the world). About 3,800 additional non-native species of vascular plants are recorded as established outside of cultivation in the U.S., as well as a much smaller number of non-native non-vascular plants and plant relatives. The country possesses one of the most diverse temperate floras in the world, comparable only to that of China.
- The PLANTS Database – United States Department of Agriculture The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.
The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants. Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the System has grown to more than 150 million acres, 552 national wildlife refuges and other units of the Refuge System, plus 37 wetland management districts
Interesting lists on Wikipedia:
Wildlife and nature guides to the world