Ecological Responses to Climate Change Since the Last Ice Age

Recorded at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Jack Williams, a UW-Madison professor, talked about how the environment was responding to the changing environment. The last ice age, which profoundly shaped Wisconsin landscapes, also offers a natural model system for studying species responses to climate change. The last deglaciation was interrupted by periods of very fast temperature rises, occurring within a few decades. Plant species responded quickly, with short time lags, large shifts in species distributions, and the emergence of novel communities. There is good evidence that plant communities are already responding to current climate changes. We can use the insights from the past to guide our adaptation plans for the future.

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