U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

US Fish and Wildlife Logo

About Us

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Within FWS is the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) that is tasked with administering a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the US.

Deer at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR. 

In 2012 FWS announced the launch of a new branch, Human Dimensions (HD). From providing opportunities for recreation and education, to restoring vital habitats for fish, wildlife and plants, the public plays a vital role in our decision making process. The Human Dimensions Branch examines the complex relationships between people and the wildlife and habitats the Refuge System protects. This enables decision-makers to consider social systems in conservation planning, design, and implementation. Both biological and social sciences should inform landscape-scale management of wildlife and their habitats.  

The HD branch is housed within the Natural Resource Program Center (NRPC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. As a central location for resources to inform landscape-level conservation delivery, NRPC is the ideal home for HD. All activities at NRPC must be informed by sound science. Until recently, this has meant biological and physical science. It is clear now that we must also take social sciences into consideration in order for our decisions and management actions to be comprehensively informed.

Be sure to stop by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Team Page to see the latest blog posts, news, and upcoming training and events. Please visit the HD Branch site for more information about the Branch and its role within FWS.

Mission

Working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Related Content

This user guide will lead you through creating a log-in and using HDgov, the unique resources found on Team Pages, finding the interactive elements of the website, locating tools and resources, managing your profile, submitting content for publishing on HDgov, and how to find what you're looking for throughout the web portal.
This article in the Texas Lawyer examines scholarly research on stereotypical "female" traits, and which ones work for and against a female negotiator, like the female attorney example used here.
We developed a guide to assist natural scientists in understanding the philosophical basis of social science to support the meaningful interpretation of social research outcomes. The 3 fundamental elements of research are ontology, what exists in the human world that researchers can acquire knowledge about; epistemology, how knowledge is created; and philosophical perspective, the philosophical orientation of the researcher that guides her or his action. Many elements of the guide also apply to the natural sciences.
Water resources management and the “changing water paradigm” has many components, including a shift away from sole, or even primary, reliance on finding new sources of supply to address perceived new demands, a growing emphasis on incorporating ecological values into water policy, a re-emphasis on meeting basic human needs for water services, and a conscious breaking of the ties between economic growth and water use. This paper summarizes the components of this ongoing shift and looks at the new paths being explored. It evaluates the major reasons for the change in approach and discusses the applicability of these new concepts in different parts of the world.
Burton explores options for domestic and international policy change regarding adaptation, disaster planning, and disaster relief based on the pervasive impacts weather and climate have on the economy and people's livelihood.
As climate and water crises become more prevalent, individuals are adjusting their diets in an effort to mitigate the impacts and reduce the frequency of these crises. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future evaluated 140 countries, establishing nine diets from each that accounted for variations in income, GDP, food availability and communications about certain types of diets, to understand how these small-scale changes being made by individuals may impact, or are being impacted by, widespread climate and water crises.
Planned adaptation to climate change denotes actions undertaken to reduce the risks and capitalize on the opportunities associated with global climate change. This paper summarizes current thinking about planned adaptation. It starts with an explanation of key adaptation concepts, a description of the diversity of adaptation contexts, and a discussion of key prerequisites for effective adaptation. On the basis of this introduction, major approaches to climate impact and adaptation assessment and their evolution are reviewed. Finally, principles for adaptation assessment are derived from decision-analytical considerations and from the experience with past adaptation assessments.
It is suggested that landscapes and seascapes are best understood as complex social-ecological systems, and as such adaptive governance is the most suitable approach for ecosystem management. This publication examines three different adaptive governance initiatives and compares them with other efforts aimed at conservation and sustainable use.
Conservation planning is increasing its use of social science research and techniques to better understand the feasibility and scope of different conservation actions and landholder motivations to engage in conservation actions. Most conservation planners are trained biologists and ecologists, and this article explores a few recommendations that may assist with integrating social science research techniques into the theory and practice of conservation planning.