Effects of Climate Change on Species

Ecosystems and biological species will be impacted by climate change. Warmer temperatures will alter habitats, shift distribution areas, and change migration patterns. As habitats change the migration of certain species to new areas may have an effect on established species.

With the introduction of new species, competition for available resources becomes a factor and new species may be able to out-compete established species. Established species may then migrate to find alternative habitats or to become extirpated from an area. Many of the biological species affected by a warming climate are traditional food sources, medicinal plants, and sacred species to Indigenous peoples in Canada. The effects of climate change on these species will affect the health, economy, and livelihood of Indigenous people.

As species migrate into new areas, traditional foods may become scarce, therefore increasing the reliance on store bought foods. Species relied on for traditional uses and important to medicines and ceremonies may no longer be available as a result of migration or unsuitable habitats. New species that migrate into these areas cannot be used as replacements without jeopardizing traditional customs or ceremonies.