Biodiversity is already suffering from climate change

Action is needed immediately if we are to fight the loss of biodiversity caused by global warming, according to two scientists.

The scientists attending the Beyond Kyoto conference are stressing that we need to attend to the loss of biodiversity immediately. They say we are already seeing the dramatic results that environmental problems such as pollution, deforestation and increasing global temperatures have on wildlife. And the changes are happening at a much faster rate than previously thought.
“It is often stressed, that one of the future consequences of the greenhouse effect will be a loss of animal and plant species,” said Pam Berry, deputy leader at the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford. “But it is no longer taking place in the future. Species are already responding to climate change.”

Animals fleeing the heat

Berry has reviewed current reports about animals fleeing their natural European habitats because of increasing temperatures and says a different approach must be taken to cope with this than just trying to fight CO2 emissions.

“If species are going to have difficulties adapting, we must take action. We must identify the species that have the most problems and support them directly,” she said without elaborating.

Ingolf Kühn, senior scientist at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany agrees.

“It is possible to see these changes already. I can point out that changing vegetation across Europe has already been observed,” he said.

The future might be dismal

The fact that we are already seeing the manifestations of climate change, what possibly lies for us in the future could be worse than we expect says Kühn.
“At a temperature increase of four degrees, we will have a huge loss of species in east and south Germany. The clear losers are birds and mammals,” he said and mentioned four measures we can take to fight this loss of animal and plant species. 
“Through urban tree planting, forest and pest control, forest conservation and higher energy efficiency, we can come a long way,” he says.

By Hakan Jakob Kosar

1 comment to Biodiversity is already suffering from climate change

  • Nick Evershed

    I’m curious as to if there will be a net loss of biodiversity over all, or if there’ll just be a shift of species from one area to another.

    The scientists quoted mention changing species, in addition to loss of species. It isn’t however clear if the loss is again referring to movement out of an area, or an actual decline in population.

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