, WCS Canada
© WCS Canada

Yukon Climate Change

Why we need to plan for a changing climate and landscape

In our subarctic world, an overheating climate forces all plants and animals to deal with a hotter and somewhat wetter world where extremes in temperature and precipitation are far more common. The results are varied but widespread:

  • Plant communities, such as spruce forests, are already shifting in species composition and distribution in response to factors like drought stress or new growing opportunities.
  • Birds, mammals, and invasive species are spreading north and upslope as their growing conditions change.
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon and lake trout are declining with warming water.
  • More intense and frequent wildfires that burn larger areas are reducing the extent of older forests relied on by caribou, marten, and numerous birds.
  • Flooding changes the extent and quality of habitats that fish use for spawning, that birds use for nesting and feeding, and that some mammals use for shelter.
  • Faster melt of permafrost puts more sediment in streams, destroying some fish habitats.

This website is a hub of information for anyone interested in how climate change is affecting our landscapes in the Yukon and outlines steps we can take to reduce some of these impacts through smart land-use planning. It presents WCS Canada’s research and provides general and specific ideas for how we can plan for and adapt to the changing climate with conservation of fish, wildlife, and traditional foods and medicines in mind. Our goal is to ensure the future wellbeing of Yukon residents – human and wild – by putting this information to use in land-use planning processes.

Our approach

Climate change

Climate change is already reshaping natural systems, changing everything from snow cover and water levels to the size and intensity of wildfires.

Stories and op-eds

After burn: The new face of fire puts wildlife on the hot seat

After burn: The new face of fire puts wildlife on the hot seat

How Canada’s wildlife is struggling to cope with the human-induced forcings of climate change
Justina Ray, Hilary Cooke