Jasper National Park in Alberta. A new report says over the nex 100 years the climates in the protected areas will change and the ecosystems the parks are designed to protect will be pushed outside the boundaries or disappear.
Photo Credit: CBC

Worrisome climate warning about national parks, conservation areas

Around the world national, provincial, state and other parks and conservation areas have been set aside to preserve ecosystems and species.    But with climate change, within just a few decades, they may not be able to do that.

A new study by an international team including Marc-Andre Parisien  a researcher with the Canadian Forestry Service, finds that with climate change the ecosystems each park is designed to preserve, will either disappear, change, or likely move out of the protected area.

Quoted by the Canadian Press, he said, “The climates that are in western Montana and the panhandle of Idaho and parts of Colorado are eventually going to be in Banff National Park”.  This means what we now know as the climate in Banff in terms of temperature, rain and snow, and the growing season will all change as will other world famous parks in British Columbia and Alberta.

The team’s paper “Potential relocation of climatic environments suggests high rates of climate displacement within the North American  protection network” was recently published in the science journal Global Change Biology.  (abstract HERE)

They studied over 4,500 protected areas in North America and Mexico  comprising  2.25 million square kilometres and found that the vast majority of that area could soon be at risk as plant and animal species migrate out of protected areas following their preferred climate as it moves.

As global warming changes climates and pushes ecosystems out of protected areas, the animals and other creatures will have to follow at potential risk. Rare plants and trees and aquatic life that can’t move will likely be lost. © CBC

The potential impacts on protected spaces include:

  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Migration of species, both plant and animal, out of protected spaces
  • Alteration of ecosystem disturbances — wildfires, insect outbreaks, floods — that can act as a catalysts for ecosystem change
  • Challenges for protected-areas planners as the environments they are mandated to protect change or disappear

The report suggests that except for small coastal areas in northern British Columbia and Nunavut, almost every other park in Canada will be affected to some extent.

In the Canadian Press he said of the shifting climate zones, “If you’re an insect or a bird, it might be fairly easy. But if you’re a tree or a rare plant, you’re going to have some problems.”

The report notes that Canada will be greatly affected in the next 100 years, with climate zones moving sometimes hundreds of kilometres from their present area.

He also said the changes are already happening pointing as an example to areas around Edmonton where a lot of trees are dying due to long “unusual” droughts in the past 15 years.

“We’re already seeing in many places this shift from an aspen forest to a shrubby, prairie-like ecosystem. That’s been happening over the time span of 10, 15 years”.

He says the report could be used by governments to plan parks and protected areas for where they’ll be needed in the future by looking at where climates are today and where they might be located a few decades from now.

Additional information-sources

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Animals, Economy, Environment, International, Science and Technology

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*