Nearly 10% of Western Hemisphere's Animals Won't Be Able to Outrun Climate Change

Franco Folini/CC BY-SA 2.0

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that at minimum 9% of animals in the Western Hemisphere, and up to 40% in some places, will be unable to migrate quickly enough to suitable habitat as the planet warms.

Primates in the region will be particular hard hit—with on average primates losing 75% of available habitat— as well as much smaller animals such as shrews and moles. However, coyotes, wolves, deer, caribou, armadillos and anteaters all may well be able to migrate quickly enough to survive.

In determining how well animals will be able to react the scientists just looked at the effect of climate change, not other factors such as competition with other species, or man-made obstacles.

Report lead author Carrie Schloss:

Conservation planners could help some species keep pace with climate change by focusing on connectivity—on linking together areas that could serve as pathways to new territories, particularly where animals will encounter human-land development. For species unable to keep pace, reducing non-climate-related stressors could help make populations more resilient, but ultimately reducing emissions, and therefore reducing the pace of climate change, may be the only certain method to make sure species are able to keep pace with climate change. (Science Daily)

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects