#GlobalWarmingThreatsSpecies; #BiodiversityHotspots; #ChangingClimate; #Australia'sWetTropics; #ClimateChangeMitigation
Australia, Feb 5 (Canadian-Media): Biodiversity hotspots -- like Australia’s wet tropics, the Guinean forests of Western Africa, and the Andes Mountains - - have been providing for millions of years a safe refuge to species, evolved in tropic regions from climate change, find themselves greatly threatened from human-driven global heating, said a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, media reports said.
Australia's wet tropics. Image credit: Pinterest
After modelling the global land and ocean temperatures, and rainfall for the past 21,000 years, the study examined the impact of adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere under two scenarios, one with very high emissions and another with much lower levels of emissions.
Overlapping of biodiversity rich places with places in the tropics with relatively stable climates in the past, was a safe refuge for the species when other regions have warmed, the paper explained
“We had hoped that what we would find was that these places would continue to have stable climates. But what’s extremely worrying is that we see a shift from stable to unstable,” saidAssoc Prof Damien Fordham, a global change ecologist at the University of Adelaide and a co-author of the research
He said while the study looked closely at the past 21,000 years, the areas impacted were known to have supported stable climates for millions of years in which species were able to adapt themselves within very narrow temperature and climate boundaries.
“We see this as a further reason for action on climate change, and also in considering these hotspots in our plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Fordham.
Global expert on conservation management Prof Hugh Possingham, of the University of Queensland and chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, said the study was “depressing” and said that urgent actions need be taken on picking landscape scale actions that could mitigate these predicted effects
Loss of biodiversity is just as catastrophic as climate change. The possible solution to this problem is restoration of these habitats as well as reduction of human pressures like hunting.
Prof Bill Laurance, director of James Cook University’s centre for tropical environmental and sustainability science, who was not involved in the study, said it was “the scariest paper that I’ve read in the last couple of years” adding that our global biodiversity hotspots will be intensely vulnerable to future climate change.
“These unique species are going to be repeatedly body-slammed by highly fluctuating temperatures as this century progresses, according to this study. Wildfires, killer droughts, intense storms, flooding rains, the list of calamities goes on.”
“This work is alarming but it’s akin to being warned that there’s a massive sinkhole in the highway ahead.
“We have a chance to dodge it if we start changing direction now,” said Laurance.