Study Maps Likely Wildlife Migration Corridors as Climate Warms

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The southeastern U.S., eastern Canada, and the Amazon Basin could become three of the more heavily used wildlife thoroughfares as species are forced to relocate in response to warming temperatures in the future, according to a new study.

In an analysis of how nearly 3,000 species of mammals, birds, and amphibians in the Western Hemisphere will have to travel to find more hospitable climes — and the human-built barriers, such as cities and agricultural land, that could stand in their way — scientists from the University of Washington found that some regions will see far more animal movement than others.

In the southeastern U.S., the Appalachian Mountains are expected to provide a conduit for species movement, as are northern regions of the eastern U.S., including the area around the Great Lakes, according to the study.

The researchers said that the Amazon Basin is likely to become a hotspot for climate-induced migration, experiencing 17 times more wildlife movement than the average across the Western Hemisphere. According to the study, published in Ecology Letters, the findings can help guide suitable conservation and land use planning along these critical migration corridors.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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