Climate Change and Landscapes

Yellowstone Photo
Yellowstone National Park in Montana
Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Hot, dry forests, rising sea levels—environmental changes brought on by global warming take a heavy toll on wildlife and human communities that rely on any given landscape for food, water, shelter, and income. As climate change alters ecosystems, feeding grounds may become barren and summer grounds inhospitable. Species that have followed the same migration routes for millennia may find the corridors no longer provide for their needs. By anticipating various responses to global warming, we can protect critical wildlife habitat before it is too late.

As WCS scientists track the impacts of climate change on habitats around the world, they are studying how species respond, and which populations have the best chance of survival. They are seeking to create new protected areas where imperiled species can find a sanctuary from surrounding environmental stresses. They are also helping to create new economic opportunities for people whose livelihoods are tied to waning natural resources.

WCS Projects

Corridor Conservation in the American West

Food, water, shelter, and the freedom to roam—these are the basic needs of wildlife. WCS-North America works to protect and interlink crucial wildlife habitats through field-based research, outreach, and policy.

Dolphins of Bangladesh Confront Changing Waters

Climate change is having a profound effect on the Sundarbans of Bangladesh, one of the most important sanctuaries for tropical dolphins. As sea levels in the Bay of Bengal rise with global warming, critical wildlife habitat in the adjacent mangrove forests has shrunk.

Two Countries - One Forest

WCS-Canada is working with the transboundary Two Countries, One Forest initiative to support conservation planning for northern Appalachia from New York to Nova Scotia. We are helping to ensure that the region remains connected and able to accommodate the needs of wildlife as the climate alters habitats over time.

From the Newsroom

We've Been Asking the Wrong Questions about ConservationJuly 29, 2013

Dr James Watson, director of WCS’s Global Climate Change Program, explains that to understand the impacts of climate change on wildlife, we must first address the ways in which humans are changing their behaviors in response to the warming planet.

WCS Receives Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation GrantAugust 12, 2011

The grant will support efforts by New Yorkers to tackle climate change via a public forum on WCS’s new Mannahatta 2409 website.

Mapping Montana for Climate ChangeJune 23, 2011

A WCS conservationist maps out a climate change survival plan for species living within Montana’s Crown of the Continent ecosystem.

New Book Addresses Climate Change in the AdirondacksJuly 8, 2010

WCS ecologist Jerry Jenkins shows the global problem of climate change hitting home in the Adirondacks and how the region can fight back.

An Arctic Adventure: Day 8June 18, 2010

This week, WCS scientists are trekking across the vast and remote Alaskan Arctic and deep into the National Petroleum Reserve to explore how best to conserve Arctic wildlife in the midst of expanding energy development. WCS conservationist Steve Zack is chronicling the trip for the New York Times' Scientists at Work blog.


~/media/Images/wcs org/forms/please donate to help conservation.png
Stay in touch with WCS and receive the latest news.