Study: Greenhouse gases altering national parks

Sep 18, 2003

A new study has found that climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions could lead to significant changes in the biodiversity of national parks. These changes would make it difficult for national parks in both the eastern and western United States to meet conservation mandates.

Less than a century from now, visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States, may find that the scenery has changed a bit.

In a study published this week in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies have found that if current trends in climate change continue, some species of mammals presently inhabiting U.S. parks could migrate from these protected areas as their habitats alter. This would complicate conservation and protection efforts for the most vulnerable species.