Wildlife Responds Increasingly Rapidly to Climate Change

Plants, and animals that can, shift north, head upslope, and faster than predicted-

After analyzing 2000 species, biological scientists at York University found that on the average, “species have moved to higher elevations at 12.2 metres per decade and, more dramatically, to higher latitudes at 17.6 kilometres per decade.” This is about 2 or 3 times the rate that has been accepted in the scientific literature. Further, Faster, Higher: Wildlife Responds Increasingly Rapidly to Climate Change. ScienceDaily.

Many plants and animals can move as the temperatures/precipitation shifts. Of course, there needs to be a corridor, and conserving those that exist or creating them is a big political problem.

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Yesterday we got a comment that folks on this blog were wrong about climate change because we were “overeducated.” This less you know the better I guess . . . don’t show me how to get a jammed round out of the chamber, you and all your damn shooting awards!”

Regarding climate change denial based on no understanding at all, this blog of a few days ago says it right (note I didn’t see the Fox News interview discussed). “When Did Ignorance Become A Point of View“? Posted by Dan Satterfield.  August 16, 2011. American Geophysical Union Blogshere.



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  1. jdubya Avatar

    This is an interesting article. Of course migrations don’t work too well if you are retreating up to the top of a mountain, or if the water you are swimming in dries/heats up.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      You are right, and Yellowstone Park is a high plateau, so there can’t be much moving uphill. Recently there was an article that predicted more giant forest fires for the Greater Yellowstone. I’m not so sure about this because most the mature pine is already dead from the pine bark beetle. These beetle-killed forests burn like gasoline the year they die, and wear red needles. Once the flammable red needles have fallen off, dead pine forests are no more likely to burn than green forests (maybe less). The result is similar, however, in that whether by fire or beetle, the area is deforested. There aren’t that many spruce, sub-alpine fir, or Douglas fir in Yellowstone Park proper to maintain a forest cover with the pine all dead. These trees are not as plagued by mass, killing insect infestations as pine, at least at this time.

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Unless we stop over-population by humans, all the worry and debate about global warming is a waste of time.
    The county commissioners, here in Valley County where I live, want to spend $60,000 dollars to hire a consultant to bring more business to the county. This,on a small scale, is what is wrong with the leadership of our whole country.
    Increased numbers of humans (consumers) are seen as wonderful by our business leaders. The more of them the better. They give little thought to the destruction and extinction of other life forms on the earth by their actions.

    1. jdubya Avatar

      Larry, We finally have a state senator that is going to sponsor a bill to get rid of the income tax exemptions for all of those kids. I agree with your sentiment but I think the place to start is in the bed room, and maybe if you can’t pay the tax bill you might want to consider birth control.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan