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Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Committee on Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Board on Life Sciences Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by contract/grant no. 08HQGR0005 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Geological Survey, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-12710-3 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-12710-6 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334- 3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE CHRISTOPHER B. FIELD, Chair, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, DC DONALD F. BOESCH, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge F. STUART (TERRY) CHAPIN III, University of Alaska, Fairbanks PETER H. GLEICK, Pacific Institute, Oakland, CA ANTHONY C. JANETOS, University of Maryland, College Park JANE LUBCHENCO, Oregon State University, Corvallis JONATHAN T. OVERPECK, University of Arizona, Tuscon CAMILLE PARMESAN, University of Texas, Austin TERRY L. ROOT, Stanford University, CA STEVEN W. RUNNING, University of Montana, Missoula STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER, Stanford University, CA STAFF ANN REID, Study Director FRANCES E. SHARPLES, Director, Board on Life Sciences ANNE JURKOWSKI, Communications Officer AMANDA CLINE, Senior Program Assistant v

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BOARD ON LIFE SCIENCES KEITH YAMAMOTO, Chair, University of California, San Francisco ANN M. ARVIN, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA RUTH BERKELMAN, Emory University, Atlanta, GA DEBORAH BLUM, University of Wisconsin, Madison VICKI CHANDLER, University of Arizona, Tucson JEFFREY L. DANGL, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill PAUL R. EHRLICH, Stanford University, Stanford, CA MARK D. FITZSIMMONS, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL JO HANDELSMAN, University of Wisconsin, Madison KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis JONATHAN D. MORENO, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia RANDALL MURCH, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Alexandria MURIEL E. POSTON, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY JAMES REICHMAN, University of California, Santa Barbara BRUCE W. STILLMAN, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY MARC T. TESSIER-LAVIGNE, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA JAMES TIEDJE, Michigan State University, East Lansing CYNTHIA WOLBERGER, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD TERRY L. YATES, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque STAFF FRANCES E. SHARPLES, Board Director JO HUSBANDS, Senior Project Director ADAM P. FAGEN, Senior Program Officer ANN H. REID, Senior Program Officer MARILEE K. SHELTON-DAVENPORT, Senior Program Officer ANNA FARRAR, Financial Associate REBECCA WALTER, Senior Program Assistant AMANDA CLINE, Senior Program Assistant vi

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Preface The Committee on the Ecological Impacts of Climate Change was given an unusual task; therefore it is appropriate to describe how the committee was formed, how it interpreted its task, and the approach it took to generate this report, so that reviewers and readers are aware of what the report has been designed to achieve. The full statement of task can be found in Appendix A. The National Research Council (NRC) was approached by the U.S. Geological Survey with a request to produce a scientifically accurate brochure for the general public describing the ecological effects of climate change. Generally, when produced by the NRC, the content of such brochures is derived from previously published NRC consensus reports. In this case, while the NRC has published widely on climate change, the ecological impacts have not been the subject of any recent consensus reports. However, a number of major international consensus reports on climate change, including the Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),1 the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,2 several products from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program,3 and the United Nations Foundation4 provide ample raw material for such a brochure. Accordingly, the NRC convened a committee of experts to review the published literature and provide a brief report laying out an overview of the ecological impacts of climate change and a series of examples of impacts of different kinds. The contents of 1 IPCC. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eds.R. K. Pachauri and A. Reisinger. Geneva: IPCC, 2007. 2 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2005. 3 Backlund, P., A. Janetos, D. Schimel, J. Hatfield, K. Boote, P. Fay, L. Hahn, C. Izaurralde, B. A. Kimball, T. Mader, J. Morgan, D. Ort, W. Polley, A. Thomson, D. Wolfe, M. G. Ryan, S. R. Archer, R. Birdsey, C. Dahm, L. Heath, J. Hicke, D. Hollinger, T. Huxman, G. Okin, R. Oren, J. Randerson, W. Schlesinger, D. Lettenmaier, D. Major, L. Poff, S. Running, L. Hansen, D. Inouye, B. P. Kelly, L. Meyerson, B. Peterson, R. Shaw. The effects of climate change on agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity in the United States. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2008. 4 Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change (Rosina M. Bierbaum, John P. Holdren, Michael C. MacCracken, Richard H. Moss, and Peter H. Raven, eds.). Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing the Unavoidable. Report prepared for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Washington, D.C.: Sigma Xi and the United Nations Foundation, April 2007. vii

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this report will be used by the NRC’s Division on Earth and Life Studies communications office to design a fully illustrated booklet for distribution to the public. Members of the committee were chosen to represent knowledge of a wide range of different geographic areas (for example, the arctic or temperate latitudes), and different kinds of organisms and ecosystems. Crucially, in addition to relevant expertise, the committee members were chosen because of their deep familiarity with the international activities that allowed scientists to develop the scientific consensuses on which this report is based and for their experience and skill in conveying complex scientific information to the general public. All eleven committee members served as lead authors on one or more recent scientific assessments on global change and many have been recipients of awards and prizes for exceptional achievement in science communication. The roster of committee members and their biographies are in Appendix B. The committee met several times by conference call to discuss which examples of the ecological impacts of climate change to provide and how the information should be presented. Because the ultimate audience will be the general public, the committee decided that the report would avoid using jargon and use straightforward examples to help convey complex issues, all while not sacrificing accuracy. At the same time, numerous references and suggestions for further reading are provided for those wishing more detail. The list of possible examples of ecological impacts of climate change is very long, and only a few can be included in so brief a document. Instead, an effort was made to choose examples from a wide range of ecosystems and of several different kinds of impacts, ranging from range shifts, to seasonal timing mismatches, to indirect consequences of primary impacts. While trying to illustrate the broad range of impacts, the committee also highlighted a few fundamental messages: 1. Climate change and ecosystems are intricately connected and impacts on one will often feed back to affect the other; 2. Ecosystems are complex and their constituent species do not necessarily react to climate change at the same pace or in the same ways; 3. Climate change is not the only stress affecting ecosystems, and other stresses, like habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution, complicate species’ and ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change; 4. These cumulative and interacting changes will likely affect the benefits that humans derive from both managed and unmanaged ecosystems, including the production of food and fiber, purification of water and air, provision of pollinators, opportunities for recreation and much more; and 5. The magnitude of ecological impacts to climate change will depend on many factors, such as how quickly the change occurs; the intensity, frequency, and type of change; and in the long run what actions humans take in response to climate change. viii

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Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following for their review of this report: Chad English, SeaWeb, Silver Spring, Maryland Zhenya Gallon, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Lisa Graumlich, University of Arizona, Tuscon Richard Hebda, Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, Canada Chris Langdon, University of Miami, Florida James Morison, University of Washington, Seattle Robert Twilley, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge John Wallace, University of Washington, Seattle David A. Wedin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln Donald A. Wilhite, University of Nebraska, Lincoln Erika Zavaleta, University of California, Santa Cruz Although the reviewers listed above provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois and Dr. George Hornberger of Vanderbilt University. Appointed by the National Research Council, Drs. Berenbaum and Hornberger were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author committee and the institution. ix

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Contents 1 1 Introduction 1 What are ecosystems and why are they important? 3 What do we know about current climate change? 11 What do we expect from future climate change? 14 Climate change can impact ecosystems in many ways 15 Ecosystems can adjust to change—over time 16 Climate Change, other stresses, and the limits of ecosystem resilience 17 2 Documented Current Ecological Impacts of Climate Change 17 Range Shifts 20 Seasonal Shifts 22 3 Examples of Ecological Impacts of Climate Change in the United States 22 The Pacific Coastline 25 The Rocky Mountains 27 The Breadbasket: Central United States 28 The Northeastern United States 29 Florida and the Southern United States 30 The Southwestern Deserts 31 Alaska and the Arctic 36 4 Lessons From the Distant Past 38 5 Impacts of Future Climate Changes 41 REFERENCES APPENDIXES 52 A Statement of Task 53 B Committee Biographies xi

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