Greener northern landscapes under climate change no help to endangered caribou
Proceedings of the Royal Society
The Woodland Caribou. Photo by Steve Forrest.
Globally, climate change and habitat loss are increasing “global greening.” While these changes benefit some species, animals such as woodland caribou may suffer in a greener world. We studied links between habitat alteration (e.g. forest cutting), primary productivity, moose, wolves and caribou across part of the Canadian Boreal forest. By studying all these components simultaneously, we found that habitat alteration led to more productivity, which in turn produced more moose and wolves, and precipitated caribou declines. Species like caribou, which are adapted to low productivity environments, however, are not expected to do well in a greener world.