Having examined what it means for animals and plants to be part of an ecosystem undergoing fundamental transformation, and how that may influence humans, many questions still remain. The one thing we know for sure when faced with a changing landscape is a great deal of uncertainty in the future. How will wildlife adapt to changing conditions? What effect will warming temperatures have on fire patterns and vegetation? Will the species that many people rely upon for meaning and sustenance still be able to thrive here?
National parks are a great place to investigate climate change issues. Just as park staff and visiting researchers work to identify, understand, and prepare for changes occurring in Denali National Park and Preserve, you can begin or join efforts to do the same in your community. Perhaps the safest way forward is for people around the world to take the necessary steps now to reduce the magnitude and consequences of an altered global climate system and the untold upheaval to natural systems and human societies that these changes may bring. After all, no one (humans, animals, or plants) wants to see their home irrevocably altered.
Let us be mindful of our place within the landscape, because the effects of our actions may spread well beyond our existence as members of the constantly evolving web of natural communities present here in Denali, around our homes, and throughout the world.
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