Shifting geographic ranges, altered timing of flowering and migration-these are just a few of the impacts of climate change that scientists have already documented. A new technical report outlines these and other impacts, as well as strategies for mitigating the risks to species and ecosystems.

“These geographic range and timing changes are causing cascading effects that extend through ecosystems, bringing together species that haven’t previously interacted and creating mismatches between animals and their food sources,” said Dr. Nancy Grimm, a lead author of the report.

“Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services” was prepared by a team of more than 60 scientists, including lead authors from the United States Geological Survey, National Wildlife Federation, and Arizona State University in Tempe. The report will be used in development of the 2013 Third National Climate Assessment.

“The report clearly indicates that as climate change continues to impact ecological systems, a net loss of global species’ diversity, as well as major shifts in the provision of ecosystem services, are quite likely,” said Dr. Michelle Staudinger, a lead author of the report.

Among the key findings:

  • Changes in winter weather have large and often unexpected effects on ecosystems.
  • Ecosystem services provided by coastal habitats are especially vulnerable to sea-level rise and more severe storms.
  • Development of adaptation strategies is vital for conservation of biodiversity.
  • Better monitoring and coordination among federal and state agencies is needed.


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