Study Indicates Some Animals Can't Outpace Climate Change

May 15, 2012

A study released Monday by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences indicates that some mammals might be unable to keep up with environmental changes. Aaron Kunz explains what that means for the Pacific Northwest.

The study looked at nearly 500 species in North and South America. It determined that close to 10 percent will not be able change habitat in order to keep pace with climate change.

Co-author Carrie Schloss is a researcher at the University of Washington. She says the animals most at risk live in tropical forests like those found in South America. Mammals living here in the Northwest seem to be better suited to adapt to climate change.

Schloss: “Only about 4 to 5 percent in Oregon and Washington are unlikely to keep pace and about 7 percent in Idaho.”

Northwest species most at risk are smaller plant eating mammals like moles and shrews.

Leona Svancara with Idaho Fish and Game says the research is valuable because few studies like this have been done.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio