Climate Change and Landscapes
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Hot, dry forests, rising sea levels—environmental changes brought on by global warming take a heavy toll on wildlife and human communities that rely on any given landscape for food, water, shelter, and income. As climate change alters ecosystems, feeding grounds may become barren and summer grounds inhospitable. Species that have followed the same migration routes for millennia may find the corridors no longer provide for their needs. By anticipating various responses to global warming, we can protect critical wildlife habitat before it is too late.
As WCS scientists track the impacts of climate change on habitats around the world, they are studying how species respond, and which populations have the best chance of survival. They are seeking to create new protected areas where imperiled species can find a sanctuary from surrounding environmental stresses. They are also helping to create new economic opportunities for people whose livelihoods are tied to waning natural resources.
Food, water, shelter, and the freedom to roam—these are the basic needs of wildlife. WCS-North America works to protect and interlink crucial wildlife habitats through field-based research, outreach, and policy.
Climate change is having a profound effect on the Sundarbans of Bangladesh, one of the most important sanctuaries for tropical dolphins. As sea levels in the Bay of Bengal rise with global warming, critical wildlife habitat in the adjacent mangrove forests has shrunk.
WCS-Canada is working with the transboundary Two Countries, One Forest initiative to support conservation planning for northern Appalachia from New York to Nova Scotia. We are helping to ensure that the region remains connected and able to accommodate the needs of wildlife as the climate alters habitats over time.
From the Newsroom
Dr James Watson, director of WCS’s Global Climate Change Program, explains that to understand the impacts of climate change on wildlife, we must first address the ways in which humans are changing their behaviors in response to the warming planet.
The grant will support efforts by New Yorkers to tackle climate change via a public forum on WCS’s new Mannahatta 2409 website.
A WCS conservationist maps out a climate change survival plan for species living
within Montana’s Crown of the Continent ecosystem.
WCS ecologist Jerry Jenkins shows the global problem of climate change hitting home in the Adirondacks and how the region can fight back.
This week, WCS scientists are trekking across the vast and remote Alaskan Arctic and deep into the National Petroleum Reserve to explore how best to conserve Arctic wildlife
in the midst of expanding energy development.
WCS conservationist Steve Zack is chronicling the trip for
the New York Times' Scientists at Work blog.