Wyoming News Service

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is on a new ‘top ten’ list that focuses on habitats across the country that are home to fish, wildlife and plants at risk of extinction.  Each zone on the list is described as threatened because of a changing climate, although they’re not a lost cause because the report describes conservation actions that could help keep species resilient.  Derek Goldman with the Endangered Species Coalition - which issued the report - says they took a long-term view of habitat health.

"Ecosystems that provide habitat for lots of endangered species right now, and other ecosystems expected to provide refuge as species try to adapt to global warming."

California’s Sierra Mountains and the Arctic Sea Ice ecosystem are also featured in the report as areas that need conservation attention.  Goldman says they based the list on scientific review and input that focuses on protection, restoration and reconnection.

"Look for things that we can do on the conservation side to protect really important habitats for fish, and wildlife, and plants that already on the brink of extinction."

The Greater Yellowstone's Whitebark pines are quickly disappearing, and those trees are an important food source for many critters, including grizzlies. They also play a role in stabilizing mountainsides and shading snow pack. The report calls for forest restoration work and more research to develop trees resistant to beetle infestations.