The New York Times today: “What to Save? Climate Change Forces Brutal Choices at National Parks.”
For decades, the core mission of the Park Service was absolute conservation. Now ecologists are being forced to do triage, deciding what to safeguard — and what to let slip away.
Probably available only to subscribers. However, the article has a link to this USF&WS web page on the topic.
NY Times excerpt:
The first one [of Park Service two papers], titled “Resist, Accept, Direct,” aims to help park employees triage species and landscapes. In some cases, that will mean giving up long efforts to save them. The second outlines how to assess risks when relocating species. That may be crucial to saving plants and animals that can no longer survive in their natural habitat.
Those two papers were the basis for the guidance published last month. On the very first page of that document, set over a photo of the charred Santa Monica Mountains after the 2018 Woolsey fire, the authors state that “it will not be possible to safeguard all park resources, processes, assets, and values in their current form or context over the long term.”
Decisions about what to protect are especially imminent for forests, where changes are leading some researchers to wonder if the age of North American woodlands is coming to an end.
In the United States Southwest, for example, research suggests that, in the event of wildfires, up to 30 percent of forestland might never grow back because global warming favors shrubs or grasslands in their ranges. Joshua trees appear likely to lose all of their habitat in their namesake national park by the end of the century.