Climate Change

The predicted effects of global climate change—increasing temperatures, increased carbon dioxide levels, and altered patterns of precipitation—are highly likely to alter the distribution of plant and animal species and natural plant communities, affect wildlife habitat, and impact environmental conditions over broad segments of North America. Numerous studies have shown that as climates warm, many species will suffer declining populations and reduced range sizes. In most cases, the area lost due to deteriorating conditions is far greater than the new areas where species are able to expand their ranges.  

In Pennsylvania, changes in the distribution of species and plant communities due to the effects of global climate change may become most evident in populations of species occurring at or near the edge of their ranges (both north and south) and in rare and isolated habitat types. For many rare species or those occurring at the edge of their range, the effects of global climate change may lead to their extirpation in Pennsylvania.  

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