GLOBAL WARMING AND TERRESTRIAL BIODIVERSITY DECLINE MALCOLM JAY R, MARKHAM ADAM, 2000

 

Past efforts to model the potential effects of greenhouse warming on global ecosystems have focussed on flows of energy and matter through ecosystems rather than on the species that make up ecosystems. For this study, we used models that simulate global climate and vegetation change to investigate three important threats to global terrestrial biodiversity: 
• Rates of global warming that may exceed the migration capabilities of species 
• Losses of existing habitat during progressive shifts of climatic conditions 
• Reductions in species diversity as a result of reductions in habitat patch size. We also analyzed the effects that major natural barriers such as oceans and lakes, and human-caused impediments to migration, including agricultural land and urban development, might have on the ability of species to move in response to global warming. This study demonstrates that rapid rates of global warming are likely to increase rates of habitat loss and species extinction, most markedly in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Extensive areas of habitat may be lost to global warming and many species may be unable to shift their ranges fast enough to keep up with global warming. Rare and isolated populations of species in fragmented habitats or those bounded by large water bodies, human habitation and agriculture are particularly at risk, as are montane and arctic species.
 
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