Oregon’s Biodiversity in a Changing Climate

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Title: Oregon’s Biodiversity in a Changing Climate
Author: Climate Leadership Initiative; Lawler, Joshua J.; Mathias, Molly; Yahnke, Amy E.; Girvetz, Evan H.
Abstract: In the coming century, average annual temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are projected to rise at a rate of 0.1 to 0.6 °C (0.2 to 1.0 °F) per decade. Although there is more uncertainty in projected changes in precipitation, in general, winters are projected to be wetter and summers are projected to be drier. These changes will have profound effects on many ecological systems across the state. For example, temperature-driven reductions in snowpack will affect stream-flow patterns and in turn many freshwater systems. Increasing temperatures will result in drier fuels leading to more frequent, intense, and/or extensive wildfires and rising sea levels will inundate many low-lying coastal areas. All of these changes have the potential to alter habitat and other finely balanced ecological relationships. As species move in response to these climate-driven changes, some will leave areas in which they are currently protected and others will replace them. Designing a network of protected lands that adequately conserves Oregon’s biodiversity into the future will require taking climate change into account. Planning for climate change will require a new set of tools including state-wide and regional assessments to determine which species and lands are most vulnerable to climate change and which lands are most isolated, synthetic analyses of regional climate and climate-impact projections, and regional cooperation among state, federal, and private landowners. Despite the challenges inherent in addressing climate change in the conservation-planning process, it may not be possible to protect biodiversity in the coming century unless we do.
Description: 55 p.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/6982
Date: 2008

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