Global Weirding in British Columbia: Climate Change and the Habitat of Terrestrial Vertebrates
Keywords:Alpine, British Columbia, Climate Change, Global Weirding, Wetlands.
The authors summarize the distribution of terrestrial vertebrates of British Columbia across major habitat types and present empirical and projected effects of global weirding within two particularly vulnerable habitats—alpine and wetland. Global weirding embraces all phenomena associated with climate change: increases in average temperatures, heat waves, cold spells, floods, droughts, hurricanes, blizzards, plant and animal die-offs, population explosions, new animal migration patterns, plus dramatic regional differences. Current data suggest that many alpine species will be lost to changes in habitat wrought by climate, particularly increases in average temperatures. For many wetlands, particularly in the central and southern interior of the province, the basic issue is simple—the incoming water is decreasing and the outgoing water (evaporation) is increasing. The authors illustrate three approaches to projecting trends in wetland habitat, elaborating on the “drying index” approach, in which they have most confidence. For wetland species, they say management will struggle with the concept of a real-world triage—allocating conservation efforts where they are most likely to succeed and have the most benefit. They conclude that several conservation approaches for wetland species will face the difficulty of allocating water between needs of these species and of humans.
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