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The Impact of Climate Change on Mammal Diversity in Canada

Authors
  • Kerr, Jeremy1
  • Packer, Laurence1
  • 1 York University, Department of Biology, 4700 Keele St., North York, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada. E-mail , North York
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1998
Volume
49
Issue
2-3
Pages
263–270
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1023/A:1005846910199
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Current large-scale mammalian diversity patterns in Canada can be accurately explained using various measurements of heat energy. Unfortunately, climatic change is predicted to alter the fundamental climatic basis for contemporary diversity gradients, with the expected consequence that much of the Canadian biota will need to migrate in order to remain within climatically suitable regions. We make predictions regarding future mammal diversity patterns in Canada, and therefore provide a preliminary indication of where management intervention should be directed in order to conserve mammal diversity as climate changes. We also examine the current distributions of individual mammal species in Canada in order to determine which taxa cannot migrate farther north because of the Arctic Ocean barrier. Of the 25 species that fall into this category, we examine the predicted loss of habitat in one keystone species – Dicrostonyx groenlandicus, the collared lemming – and find that this taxon is likely to lose approximately 60% of its habitat with unpredictable but likely detrimental consequences for the arctic biota. We discuss the implications of our findings briefly.

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