Addressing Climate Change
Climate change presents a range of challenges for people and wildlife – hotter, drier conditions, more extreme weather patterns, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels. Each of the world’s 15 cranes species is vulnerable to climate change in its own way:
- Rising oceans threaten to drown the habitats of Whooping Cranes in the salt marshes along the Texas coast.
- Unprecedented drought is shrinking wetlands across the range of the Brolga and Sarus Cranes of Australia.
- Rapidly melting ice sheets are eliminating the islands, peninsulas, and low-lying shores where Siberian Cranes breed.
Just as varied as the impacts of climate change are the approaches the International Crane Foundation is using to address and adapt to this threat:
- We are modeling how sea-level rise will impact current and future estuarine wintering grounds of Whooping Cranes in Texas, and using this knowledge to assist in securing conservation easements and set-asides that will accommodate the recovering crane population under future sea level conditions.
- In the Zambezi and Mekong River basins, our research is challenging river developers to incorporate climate change into the design and operation of new dams, encouraging smaller run-of-river dams and other energy alternatives more resilient to climate change and less harmful to downstream users and wildlife.
- In Northeast China, we are working with our Chinese colleagues to negotiate water releases to maintain water and vegetation in four key wetlands of the Songnen Plain.
- In China’s Tumuji and Momoge National Nature Reserves, we are helping reserve managers develop climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans.