Implications for Nature

Tweedsmuir glacier
Tweedsmuir Glacier, Tatshenshini-Alsek Park. Receding glaciers caused by climate change may impact stream flow regimes and park recreation.

The following statements reflect what BC Parks understands to be the implications of climate change now and into the future, based on an extensive review of climate change literature and research currently underway in British Columbia:

  • Future climate and ecosystems will be different than what exists today.
  • The ongoing rate of climate change will increase relative to historic rates.
  • Climate change includes more frequent and more severe weather events and may include permanent shifts from one climatic state to another.
  • Unstressed ecosystems tend to be more resilient to climate change than stressed ecosystems.
  • Diverse natural ecosystems tend to be more resilient to climate change than those simplified by humans.
  • Climate change affects ecological, hydrological and geomorphological processes such as nutrient and water cycling.
  • Climate change affects the timing, scale, and effects of natural disturbances and processes, resulting in more and larger wildfires, disruption of peak water flows, and altered pathogen-host relationships, disease cycles, predator-prey systems, and pollination patterns.
  • Climate change affects species in the context of ecosystems.
  • Climate thresholds exist for species and ecosystem processes.
  • Species will respond to climate change in different ways and at different rates (by moving, adapting behaviour, or perishing).
  • Landscape and watershed connectivity facilitates species dispersal.
  • Natural migration of many plant and animal species will not keep up with the rate of climate change.

Further reading

BC Ministry of Forests and Range Climate Change Research

Climate Change in BC – Past and Future