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The Effects of Climate Change on Biological Diversity by Andrea Donaldson National Environment and Planning Agency Biological Diversity/Biodiversity “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems” (Convention on Biological Diversity) Threats to Biodiversity Land use and land cover changes Soil, air and water pollution Diversion of water to intensively managed ecosystems and urban systems Habitat fragmentation Selective exploitation of species Introduction of species Climate Change Projected Impact of Climate Change Earth’s mean surface temperature will warm to 1.4 to 5.80C by the end of the 21st century – land areas warming more than the ocean, high latitudes more than tropics Sea level will rise 0.09 to 0.88m Precipitation will increase in high-latitude and equatorial areas and decrease in subtropics Potential Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity Changing the timing in reproduction animals and plants migration pattern of animals length of the growing season species distribution population sizes frequency of pest and disease outbreaks Potential Impact cont’d Risk of extinction increases for many species already vulnerable species with limited climatic ranges, restricted habitat requirements and small populations are vulnerable little evidence that climate change slows species loss, there is however evidence that it may increase species loss. Impact on Biodiversity in Small Island States Increases in the frequency of hurricanes or wind speed could negatively affect habitats. Mangroves, seagrass beds, other coastal ecosystems and associated biodiversity will be affected. Saltwater intrusion into freshwater habitats Potential loss of coral reef associated species due to coral bleaching and reduced calcification rates. Inundation and flooding of low-lying forested area Past changes in the global climate resulted in major shifts in species ranges and reorganization of biological communities, landscapes, and biomes during the last 1.8 million years. This occurred when the landscape was not as fragmented as today, and with little or no pressure from human activities. Today’s climate change along with other human pressures is stressing biodiversity beyond the levels imposed by the global climatic change in the recent evolutionary past. THANK YOU