Climate Already Altering U.S. Ecosystems and Biodiversity, Report Says

Climate change is causing plant and animal species across the U.S. to shift their geographic ranges and life events — from flowering to migration — are being transformed at a faster rate than observed even a few years ago, a new analysis by 60 scientists says.

According to the report, “Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services,” some terrestrial species are moving up in elevation at rates 2 to 3 times greater than previously believed, while the range shifts for some marine species have been even greater.

These rapid changes in ranges, distributions, and life cycles are forcing species to interact in ways that they never have before and could alter the timing and availability of natural resources critical to biodiversity and ecosystem health.

“These geographic range and timing changes are causing cascading effects that extend through ecosystems… creating mismatches between animals and their food sources,” said Nancy Grimm, a scientist at Arizona State University and lead author of the report.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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