Plants and animals form the core of what comes to mind when we think about “environment.” These two resource concerns are at the heart of much of the conservation work done by NRCS to support healthy ecosystems.
Plants are the fabric that covers the soil. They hold the soil in place to reduce erosion and improve water quality. Plants provide our food, materials for shelter, fuel to warm us and replenish the air we breathe. Plants provide food for animals and habitat for wildlife.
Animals both large and small are a critical component to our environment. Domesticated animals, such as livestock, provide us food, fiber and leather. Wild animals, including birds, fish, insects and pollinators, are important to support the web of activity in a functioning ecosystem.
Healthy populations of plants and animals are critical for life. Invasive plants and pests can ruin crop fields and forests and drastically alter the natural processes of ecosystems.
NRCS develops technical information and guidance to assist conservationists and landowners with enhancing plant and animal populations and addressing invasive plant and pest concerns.
In the United States one third of all agricultural output depends on pollinators. Fruit and vegetable growers in Pennsylvania can attest to the significant role pollinators play in the production of many of our crops. Promoting pollinators' habitat on and near the farm benefits everyone who likes to eat! To learn more, visit the The Importance of Pollinators page.
The bog turtle, American’s smallest turtle, is federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Bog turtles depend upon an open, sunny, spring fed wetlands with scattered dry areas, and can be an indicator of water quality and wetland function. The greatest threats to bog turtles include habitat degradation and fragmentation from land conversion, habitat succession due to invasive exotic and native plants, and illegal trade and collecting. To learn more, visit the Bog Turtle Conservation page.
The Golden Winged Warbler has undergone significant population declines in the Appalachian region. Golden-winged warblers (GWW) and many other species depend upon shrubby, early successional/young forest habitats including forest clear-cuts, alder swamps, areas harvested for timber, and utility rights-of way. To learn more, visit the Golden Winged Warbler Conservation page.