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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CROP AND WEED RESPONSES TO INCREASING ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE Title: Climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosystems in the multi-state region centered on Chicago

Authors
item Hellmann, Jessica -
item Nadelhoffer, Knute -
item Iverson, Louis -
item Ziska, Lewis
item Matthews, Stephen -
item Myers, Philip -
item Prasad, Anantha -
item Peters, Matthew -

Submitted to: Journal of Great Lakes Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2009
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/49775
Citation: Hellmann, J.J., Nadelhoffer, K.J., Iverson, L.J., Ziska, L.H., Matthews, S.N., Myers, P., Prasad, A.M., Peters, M.P. 2010. Climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosystems in the multi-state region centered on Chicago. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 36:74-85.

Interpretive Summary: In examining the likely impacts of global climate change, including temperature and precipitation, it is important to examine not one category, but the region as a whole. This paper describes the potential impacts of warming temperatures and changing precipitation on plants wildlife, invasive species, pests, and agricultural ecosystems across the multistate region of the mid-west, centered on Chicago, Illinois. We consider species currently present within the region as well as species that are expected to move into or out of the region as climate zones shift northward through the coming century. Based on a number of information sources, we conclude that the complex mixture of urbanization, suburban development, and large-scale agriculture, poses particular challenges to natural ecosystems in the Chicago region under climate change. Dispersal of some species is likely to be limited, and some populations of native species may already be reduced due to habitat loss. However, other species can persist; even thrive, within a landscape mosaic such as the Chicago region, provided natural areas and green spaces are available. If such spaces are somehow connected, they can provide opportunities for native species to inhabit and move through the metropolitan region. Strategies for adapting regional agriculture and minimizing pest outbreaks also call for creative management intervention. With additional research, the mid-western Chicago region has an opportunity to provide guidance for two key issues: effective management of natural resources under climate change, and greenhouse gas mitigation. This information will be of interest to scientists, urban ecologists, city planners, and the lay public.

Technical Abstract: This paper describes the potential impacts of warming temperatures and changing precipitation on plants wildlife, invasive species, pests and agricultural ecosystems across the multistate region centered on Chicago, Illinois. We define the region broadly to include several hundred kilometers. We consider species currently present within the region as well as species that are expected to move into or out of the region as climate zones shift northward through the coming century. Our analysis draws upon disparate data sources to compile projections for this single, strategic region. We conclude that the complex mixture of urbanization, suburban development, and large-scale agriculture poses particular challenges to natural ecosystems in the Chicago region under climate change. Dispersal is likely to be limited for some species, and some populations of native taxa may already be reduced due to habitat loss. Other species can persist; even thrive, within a landscape mosaic such as the Chicago region, provided natural areas and green spaces are available. If such spaces are somehow connected, they can provide opportunities for native species to inhabit and move through the metropolitan region (perhaps even better than the previous landscapes dominated by agriculture). Strategies for adapting regional agriculture and minimizing pest outbreaks also call for creative management intervention. With additional research, Chicago has an opportunity to provide leadership for two key issues facing humanity: effective management of natural resources under climate change, and greenhouse gas mitigation.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014