Wildlife Conservation Society
The map illustrates the global distribution of the climate stability/ecoregional intactness relationship. Ecoregions with both high climate stability and vegetation intactness are dark grey. Ecoregions with high climate stability but low levels of vegetation intactness are dark orange. Ecoregions with low climate stability but high vegetation intactness are dark green. Ecoregions that have both low climate stability and low levels of vegetation intactness are pale cream.

Scorched Earth Policy: Indian Country Among Climate Hot Spots


Southern and southeastern Asia, western and central Europe, eastern South America and southern Australia are among the regions most vulnerable to climate change on Earth, a new map compiled by the Wildlife Conservation Society shows. But Turtle Island and much of Indian country are not far behind.

This map, unlike previous assessments, factors in the condition of the areas surveyed rather than simply looking at climate change’s effects on landscapes and seascapes. The human activity that has shaped many of these regions already must be factored in, the map’s creators said in a statement, because that helps determine how susceptible the areas will be to the influences of the world’s changing climate.

"We need to realize that climate change is going to impact ecosystems both directly and indirectly in a variety of ways and we can't keep on assuming that all adaptation actions are suitable everywhere,” said James Watson, who led the study as director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Climate Change Program, in a statement from the WCS on September 17.

“A vulnerability map produced in the study examines the relationship of two metrics: how intact an ecosystem is, and how stable the ecosystem is going to be under predictions of future climate change,” the society said in its statement. “The analysis creates a rating system with four general categories for the world's terrestrial regions, with management recommendations determined by the combination of factors.”

The dark green areas of the map, which are much of northern Canada, delineate areas of low climate stability but a high rate of intact vegetation, the society said. Wildlife Conservation Society scientists were joined in the map’s creation by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia and Stanford University in California. The research was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

One of the goals of compiling the map was to determine the best places to invest conservation resources, the society said. The areas with the most stable climate have the best chance of preserving species if efforts are amped up there, the society said.

“The fact is there is only limited funds out there and we need to start to be clever in our investments in adaptation strategies around the world," Watson said. "The analysis and map in this study is a means of bringing clarity to complicated decisions on where limited resources will do the most good."

RELATED: The Seven Most Alarming Effects of Climate Change on North America, 2013 Edition

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
The real shame behind global climate change is the sad fact that American conservatives CONTINUE to deny that Climate Change is real. Scientists all over the world agree that climate change is real and human-caused. Our conservatives make us the laughing stock of the world for their idiocy. Hopefully everyone will remember when it comes time to vote.

rubystargoats's picture
Submitted by rubystargoats on
What's an even bigger shame is we have the methods and technology available to reverse the 'desertification' process. And produce enough food (healthy, nutritious food) that way as well. Best way to combat this destruction...plant a garden - an edible one, and vote with your dollar. The big corporations listen only to the almighty dollar. Move the market and they'll scramble after it. The organic industry is a great example, but we need to keep moving. And don't let them cheat like they try to do with organic food.

hammertime's picture
Submitted by hammertime on
When you consider that both poles are melting away at a very fast rate, any changes that could be fought for and made into law will probably be too little too late .... . The politicians in charge all have their heads stuck in the sand, with their eyes closed. Trying to figure out how to stay in office for another 4 years.. They think if they deny global warming long enough and loud enough that it will go away. Something in their minds makes them think that they can domonate nature..forever and all they got to do is to get enough white people to lie to themselves enough an it will become true ......as the waters rise around their feet....