Land Impacts

Photo Credit: Claudia Swain, South Kingstown Land Trust

Alice Meeting the Dodo

It can't happen here? Like Alice's dodo bird becoming extinct, no one ever imagined how long-term impacts of climate change might affect the environment for many living creatures.

Illustration by John Tenniel.

When Terra isn’t Quite So Firma

The most telling changes — and most evident to those who are paying attention — brought on by a warming climate may be on land.

Lengthened or abbreviated agricultural growing seasons, altered reproductive cycles, and shifts in the progress of the food chain and the natural flow of life on earth as we now know it may see Mother Nature being thrown a Major League curveball. We can only hope that Mr. Darwin’s faith in the ability to successfully adapt to change holds true. Regardless, evolution is in the self-interest of the individual creatures, not necessarily for the good of humankind.

Subtle Changes, Major Impacts

With the Northeast heating at a rate of 0.5 degrees per decade since 1970, and winter temperatures rising even faster — 1.3 degrees per decade between 1970 and 2000 — there is a link between this warming and many other changes across the region. However, whether they are beneficial or harmful will be determined over time.

Impacts on Trees (Adobe Acrobat)
Invasive Species (Adobe Acrobat)
Climate Change and Rhode Island's Dams: A Damnable Choice (Adobe Acrobat)

Impacts on the Built Environment
Impacts on Transportation and Infrastructure

Shifts in the Daily, Monthly and Yearly Routine(s)

"In America today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops." - Paul Brooks

“What is such a resource worth? Anything it costs. If we never hike it or step into its shade, if we only drive by occasionally and see the textures of green mountainside change under wind and sun, or the fog move soft feathers down the gulches, or the last sunset on the continent redden the sky beyond the ridge, we have our money's worth. We have been too efficient at destruction; we have left our souls too little space to breathe in. Every green natural place we save saves a fragment of our sanity and gives us a little more hope that we have a future.”

– Wallace Stegner



As temperatures warm many birds are shifting their ranges northwards. Some bird species can adapt to these new habitats, but it is much more challenging for other species. This may result in the decline or even extinction of bird species that are not able to adapt. Climate change will likely worsen the problems already facing forests from encroaching development, air pollution, and damage from invasive pests and diseases.

Warmer temperatures and drought conditions during the spring and summer months are projected to contribute to the increase in the extent, intensity, and frequency of wildfires around the U.S., resulting in the loss of forests, habitats, and homes.

“June (2012) broke or tied 3,125 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere — the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th century average. It ultimately will threaten other marine animals, the seafood industry and even the health of people who eat affected shellfish, scientists say.”

– Bill McKibben, (Rolling Stone, November 2012)

Tell Us What You Think

Additional Resources

About the RI
Climate Change Collaborative

We hope you will find the information in the topic areas informational and instructive. We also welcome your feedback, which can be sent to the Climate Change Collaborative through the Tell Us What You Think page.

Positions expressed in referenced media or links to external websites do not necessarily reflect the position of the RI Climate Change Collaborative.

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