Study Maps Likely Wildlife Migration Corridors as Climate Warms

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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