In a post on KUNM.org about a restoration project in the Jemez Mountains, I mentioned that scientists refer to the Jemez Mountains as a “laboratory” for climate change.
In recent decades, the ecosystems and wildlife of the Jemez have had to deal with rising temperatures, drought, increasingly hot and large wildfires, and the die-off of conifer forests. In a report about the impacts of climate change on New Mexico, The Nature Conservancy reported that over the past 60 years, the Jemez has grown warmer, faster, than any other place in the state. In the past 35 years, the Jemez has experienced huge wildfires and drought has killed off almost all of its mature pinon pines. According to the report, there has also been a reduction in streamflows.
If those are hard facts to read, I’ll console you by pointing the way to a 2011 documentary film about the Jemez. The filmmaker touches on climate change, but also just brings viewers on a really cool trip through the mountains. You can watch Sky Island online at: http://www.pbs.org/programs/sky-island/