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Published on Apr 9, 2013
This Google Map flyover, produced by Jeremy Proville of Environmental Defense Fund, illustrates the maps produced by the paper Climate Change, Wine and Conservation, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences and conducted by a team of international researchers and led by Conservation International and Environmental Defense Fund. The key finding from the study is that climate change will dramatically impact world-famous wine-producing regions, increasing pressure on water supplies and wildlife. Wine grapes are symbolic of the many crops affected by climate change, including grains, coffee, and cacao.
The Google Map flyover shows the shifts in suitable wine production areas around the world. The red indicates current areas that are currently suitable for wine grape growing that will be lost by 2050, green indicates areas that will remain suitable through 2050 and the blue is new areas suitable for wine grape growing by 2050. Productive wine growing regions along California's coast are shifting north to the Rocky Mountain region near the Canadian border, encroaching on vital conservation corridors such as the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, which provides habitat linkages for large and wide roaming animals such as the grizzly bear, grey wolf and pronghorn. Eleven thousand miles away, China is quickly becoming the fastest wine growing region in the world. Rising temperatures are causing grape growing areas to move up into mountain habitats home to the endangered giant panda.
In addition, increased irrigation water will be needed to compensate for rising temperatures and decreased rainfall in some areas. It is important for conservationists and policy makers to understand these changes, as they will greatly impact conservation and agriculture, especially with increased pressure on working lands to feed a growing world. Fortunately, there are pro-active solutions already underway. Conservation International and Environmental Defense Fund are teaming up with landowners, industry and conservation partners to provide incentive-based programs in which private landowners are paid to provide wildlife habitat and other natural benefits such as clean water, in concert with traditional agricultural activities and without impacting yields, to feed a growing global population that is expected to be nine billion people by 2050 while protecting wildlife habitat and air and water resources.