A new report from the National Wildlife Federation depicts the adaptations and struggles of wildlife across the United States as climate change alters ecosystems. “Wildlife in a Warming World” details the observed impacts scientists are already documenting in habitats from Alaska to Minnesota, with the negative impacts outweighing the positive.
According to the report, “The underlying climatic conditions to which species have been accustomed for thousands of years are rapidly changing, and we are already witnessing the impacts.”
Changes in wildlife habitats vary by region. In some cases, ecosystem changes are stressing animals, leading to rapid declines. For example, bighorn sheep in California are threatened to the brink of local extinction due to climate impacts.
In other cases, climate change is expanding the habitat of harmful pests: in the western US, the pine beetle has expanded its range and killed numerous trees, leaving forests more vulnerable to wildfires.
Besides the moral aspect of caring for other species, wildlife contributes “hundreds of billions of dollars each year to the U.S. economy,” says Mark Shaffer, national climate change policy director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Read more: USA Today>>
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