Climate Strategies Proposed for Spectacular U.S.-Canadian Landscape
In the report entitled Safe Havens, Safe Passages for Vulnerable Fish and Wildlife: Critical Landscapes in the Southern Canadian Rockies British Columbia and Montana, WCS Conservation Scientist John Weaver notes that wildlife will need 'room to roam' to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Complicating those climate-related transitions are major highways and an expansive network of forest roads that have fragmented the Southern Canadian Rockies landscape. “Providing 'safe havens' of secure and diverse habitats and 'safe passages' across the highways are climate-smart strategies,” says Weaver.
To that end, he assessed 16,978 square kilometres (6,632 square miles) of Southern Canadian Rockies land for conservation value based upon the needs of the vulnerable species and the myriad challenges facing each. For example, warmer winter temperatures resulting from climate change will reduce mountain snow cover and suitable habitat for the rare wolverine, a species highly adapted to persistent snow pack. Reduced stream flow and warmer stream temperatures will diminish habitat for westslope cutthroat trout, a native fish adapted well to cold waters, while favoring introduced rainbow trout and hybrids of the two species.
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