Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan encompasses five guiding principles:

Conserving species at-risk

Species exhibiting warning signs today must be conserved before they become imperiled at the regional, national or global level.

Keeping common species common

Native wildlife species must be retained in healthy numbers throughout their natural ranges to maintain their role in ecological processes.

Recognizing the unique role of Pennsylvania

Action Plan strategies and priorities incorporate the needs of species and their associated habitats for which Pennsylvania holds particular responsibility.

Voluntary partnerships for species, habitats and people

The resources of public and private organizations throughout the Commonwealth must be brought to bear on this effort – common contribution to common values.

A comprehensive strategy

The strategies and priorities are presented at the species, habitat, and species-suite levels so that the diverse stakeholders of the Wildlife Action Plan can find meaningful recommendations regardless of their scale and scope of interest.

Wildlife Highlights

Sitting at an ecological crossroads, Pennsylvania plays an important role in conserving many diverse species and habitats, both resident and migrant, common and rare. For example, the Commonwealth’s expansive hardwood forests, which cover 62% of the state, provide critical wildlife habitat for abundant white-tailed deer and an array of neotropical migrant songbirds.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in Pennsylvania

Critical factors affecting habitat in Pennsylvania include maintaining and improving existing habitat quality by minimizing habitat fragmentation and loss of wetlands, and improving forest regeneration. These factors also play a significant role in water issues. Protecting surface and groundwater, in-stream flows, and water quality is an important aspect of Pennsylvania’s plan. There are numerous urban and industrial demands upon the water sources of Pennsylvania due to expanding human population and habitat degradation.

Stable funding sources need to be developed in order to address species of concern. The dynamic landscape and complexity of the problems requires a long-term and sustained initiative to protect and recover species of greatest conservation need. Stable funding will be critical for maintaining the successes achieved thus far.

Working Together for Pennsylvania’s Wildlife

Pennsylvania developed the State Wildlife Action Plan through extensive public input. The major components of that input took the following forms:

  • A facilitated meeting with conservation partners from across Pennsylvania worked together to identify the overall vision, issues and goals of the State Wildlife Action Plan. These partners have continually provided comments and suggestions as Pennsylvania Game Commission staff worked to develop strategic and operational objectives in order to accomplish partners’ visions for comprehensive wildlife conservation in the Commonwealth.
  • Scientific committees of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey selected and prioritized lists of species of concern.
  • Collaboration with the Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnership’s (PBP) stakeholder and public input process to assist in developing a comprehensive statewide Pennsylvania Biodiversity Conservation Plan, including a) 500 surveys presented for the public to complete at conferences and meetings attended by PBP; and b) a series of facilitated focus groups designed to gather critical information and input from a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Survey of public input with more than 1,000 persons participating. 
  • Assorted facilitated meetings, including an “All-Bird Workshop.”


The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies represents all of North America’s fish and wildlife agencies, promotes sound management and conservation, and speaks with a unified voice on important fish and wildlife issues.

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