have as many different types of habitat and ecosystems as
New Jersey: bears and bald eagles populate our mountains, crabs
and egrets live in our salt marshes, dolphins frolic off our
shore, wild orchids bloom in our Pine Barrens. Unfortunately,
much of this natural heritage is being threatened. We are addressing
this in some ways by preserving land, conserving wetlands and
the birds and other species that depend on them, and reducing
pollution in rivers and coastal areas. Yet despite the
efforts of many New Jerseyans, we face escalating threats to
our biodiversity, primarily due to habitat loss. Reduced
biodiversity has economic as well as environmental consequences.
For example, a healthy and biologically diverse watershed cleanses
water naturally, saving millions in water treatment.
What we know
wetland impacts show little recent change
water bird populations decreasing
health shows little recent change
water quality increasing
we don't know
• We do not have
essential basic indicators of the health of New Jersey’s ecosystems
and the diversity of the plants and animals that live in them.
This includes the amount of habitat left for each species.
• We do not know
the thresholds beyond which the loss of species and habitat
lead to the unraveling of ecosystems in ways that also undercut
the stability of all life on Earth.
• When species like
birds and fish decline, we do not know how much of that loss
is due to changes in the ecology of our own state and how much
of it is due to ecological changes in other places where these
animals spend part of the year, including South America and
other parts of the United States.