Can protected areas in Canada, the United States and Mexico provide safe harbor for important species as climate changes?
Scientists from Canada, Spain, and the U.S.’ Leopold Institute completed an analysis of the conservation capacity of protected areas in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. More detail about their work here.
Their findings suggest that the protected area network is likely to be severely compromised by a changing climate. The majority of protected areas (~80%) may be exposed to high rates of climate shifts that could result in changes in species abundance or distribution in these areas. A small fraction of protected areas (<10%) could be critical for future conservation plans, since they will host climates that match the climates currently characterizing almost a fifth of the protected areas. These scientists developed an app showing the data from their analysis and whether current climates will be located within or outside of the protected area network in future decades.
Use this app https://adaptwest.shinyapps.io/climate_displacement/ to see how much climate will change for the protected areas (wilderness areas in the U.S.) that you are interested in. You can select a protected area from the drop down list, or begin typing the name, or even part of the name here, or click on one in the map (you may need to zoom in to the approximate location). The drop-down list can be scrolled and lists Canadian National Parks first, then lists parks according to which province they are in, and finally lists the protected areas in the U.S.A. and Mexico in alphabetical order. Here, you can access some basic tabular data about the selected protected area. You can also view plots of the distribution of the climate variables used in this analysis. A plot of the distribution of all of the climate variables will be included in the downloadable report. You’ll see metrics of climate change, particularly rates and spatial patterns of climatic alteration, that can help you assess potential threats.
An analysis of the conservation capacity of protected areas in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico: https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/53829