Scientists warn about the difficulty of predicting ecological relationships as climate conditions for many places begin to move well outside their historical range of variability. In recent years, ecologists have identified “no-analog” communities, associations of species in the past that arose because of novel climate conditions not found at present. They have suggested that the planet is heading toward a similar period of disappearing climates and “ecological surprises.” What role, if any, can history play as Americans enter that new world?

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