What is Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC)?

Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) is a structured, science-driven approach for making efficient, transparent decisions about where and how to expend Service resources for species, or groups of species, that are limited by the amount or quality of habitat. It is an adaptive management framework integrating planning, design, delivery and evaluation.

flock of ducks

We have an increasingly urgent need to embrace a strategic approach to landscape conservation due to a rapidly changing world and growing threats to conservation that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. In addition to the continually expanding dual threats of human development of wild places and invasive exotic species' direct and indirect impact on wild things, we have now before us an additional 21st century "perfect storm" of an increasingly disengaged public and a climate warming to the point of changing where wildlife and their habitats appear … and disappear. The former stirs us to act quickly, with the latter demanding that we move forward strategically. The problems we now face are global in nature, and we have to adapt a framework capable of dealing at the global scale. We have a narrow window of opportunity to make a difference. Though our ways of the past have been well suited for those times, and our employees should be proud of their efforts, times are rapidly changing. Our methods of effecting conservation must change with changing threats and times. John P. Kotter said that, "People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking, than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings."

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