Report Jul 28, 2009

Climate Change and National Park Wildlife: Risk and Opportunity

Climate Change and National Park Wildlife (2.67 MB)

America’s national parks are showing the signs of climate change. From Yosemite’s forests in California to the Gulf Stream waters of the Florida coast, from the top of the Rocky Mountains to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, these lands and the incredible diversity of life they support are all feeling the heat.

The choice is now ours to either chronicle their decline or take actions to make our national parks part of the climate change solution. If we fail to act, many species of fish and wildlife could disappear from the parks — or even become extinct.

That we must reduce global warming pollution to protect our natural world and human communities is now understood by many. But that is not all we must do. Unnatural climate change is already underway and will continue for decades even if we put a stop to all global warming pollution today.

Additional steps must be taken now to safeguard wildlife. We must protect the places that will help wildlife survive as the climate changes, manage wildlife anticipating the changes ahead, and improve the ecological health of the national parks and their surrounding landscapes to give fish and wildlife a fighting chance to survive unnatural climate change.