1999 Biodiversity and Climate Change: Conservation in the Face of Uncertainty

The geologic record provides a unique long-term history of dramatic changes in the global climate and of the impact of these changes on life. It reveals how past environmental change may have causes species to migrate, become extinct, or give rise to new species. Scientists agree that our planet is now 5-9 degrees warmer than in the depths of the last ice age 20,000 years ago. The dominant view among experts is that if we continue to release heat-trapping gases at the present rate, the average global temperature will rise by another 2-6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

Global warming presents a particular challenge to biodiversity conservation in a world already largely modified by humanity. Biodiversity and Climate Change: Conservation in the Face of Uncertainty joined scientists, natural resource managers, conservation biologists, and policy makers to explore the evidence for past and present climate change and its consequence for ecosystems and species, and address conservation planning in an age of uncertain climatic trends. A special session examined the past, present, and future of a changing climate on New York City, and addresses regional and local conservation planning issues.

The symposium was sponsored by the Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and held in conjunction with the opening of the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth.

Download the Symposium Program