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Climate Change and Rocky Mountain Ecosystems, USA

49.6N 118.6W

April 23rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Mountains

USA and Canada – April 22nd, 2013

Climate change is widely acknowledged to be having a profound effect on the biosphere with many and diverse impacts on global resources. Mountain ecosystems in the western U.S. and the Northern Rockies in particular are highly sensitive to climate change. In fact, the higher elevations of the Northern Rockies have experienced three times the global average temperature increase over the past century.

These same ecosystems provide up to 85% of the water humans depend on as well as a host of other ecosystem services such as snow-based recreation, timber, unique flora and fauna, and critical habitat for rare and endangered species such as bull trout and grizzly bear. Climate change poses special problems for mountain protected areas, such as national parks and wilderness areas, because most of the land area within their boundaries is at higher elevations.

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