Research: Climate Change can Cause Widespread Global-scale Loss of Flora and Fauna

by Rukmani Krishna on May 15 2013 11:55 PM

 Research: Climate Change can Cause Widespread Global-scale Loss of Flora and Fauna
A research has suggested that climate change could lead to decline in more than 50 per cent of common plants and 33 per cent of animals can see this century.
The research looked at 50,000 globally widespread and common species and found that more than one half of the plants and one third of the animals will lose more than 50 percent of their climatic range by 2080 if nothing is done to reduce the amount of global warming and slow it down.

This means that geographic ranges of common plants and animals will shrink globally and biodiversity will go down almost everywhere.

Plants, reptiles and particularly amphibians are expected to be at greatest risk.

Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia will lose the most species of plants and animals and a major loss of plant species is projected for North Africa, Central Asia and South-eastern Europe.

The study was led by Dr Rachel Warren from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA. Collaborators include Dr Jeremy VanDerWal at James Cook University in Australia and Dr Jeff Price, from UEA's school of Environmental Sciences and the Tyndall Centre.

Warren said that the potential range loss in widespread species is a serious concern as even small declines in the species can significantly disrupt ecosystems.

He said that their research predicts that climate change will greatly reduce the diversity of even very common species found in most parts of the world, asserting asserted that this loss of global-scale biodiversity will significantly impoverish the biosphere and the ecosystem services it provides.

Warren said the team looked at the effect of rising global temperatures, but other symptoms of climate change like extreme weather events, pests, and diseases mean that their estimates are probably conservative.

He said that the animals may decline more as their predictions will be compounded by a loss of food from plants.

He added that the prompt and stringent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally would reduce these biodiversity losses by 60 per cent if global emissions peak in 2016, or by 40 per cent if emissions peak in 2030, showing that early action is very beneficial.

The research has been published in journal Nature Climate Change.