Global Climate Change and Wildlife in North America

Global Climate Change and Wildlife in North America was published by the Wildlife Society and their Technical Review Committee on Global Climate Change and Wildlife. This technical review explains how climate change has significant potential to affect wildlife throughout North America, either directly or indirectly through responses to changing habitat conditions.

The report details the effect of climate change (as of 2004) - including how markedly different it is from historical climate variability due to the magnitude of change over a short period of time. A thorough review of wildlife research that demonstrates climate change impacts on wildlife and habitats is also provided.

Some of the most well understood climate change impacts on wildlife species and habitats are described including: changes in primary productivity; changes in plant chemical and nutrient composition; changes in seasonality; sea level rise; snow, permafrost, and sea ice decline; and increased invasive species, pests, and pathogens. 

Specific impacts on wildlife are distinguished by taxonomic groups, i.e. amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Case studies on amphibians, waterfowl, neo-tropical migrant birds, and caribou are included, and the waterfowl studies are sorted by regional effects.

Wildlife managers can enhance a species’ ability to withstand global climate change by ensuring widespread habitat availability and managing for self-sustaining populations. This report concludes with detailed recommended actions for wildlife managers and government agencies to account for climate change and variability when planning for the conservation of wildlife.

Publication Date: 2004

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Douglass B. Inkley
  • Michael G. Anderson
  • Andrew R. Blaustein
  • Virginia R Burkett
  • Benjamin Felzer
  • Brad Griffith
  • Jeff Price
  • Terry L. Root

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment

Impacts:

  • Air temperature
  • Flooding
  • Invasive species and pests
  • Permafrost melt
  • Precipitation changes
  • Sea-level rise
  • Water temperatures

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