Theme 2: Biodiversity and ecosystems
Biodiversity needs to be an integrated part of the general climate change mitigation and adaptation effort
Climate change (CC) constitutes a major threat to Earth's biodiversity
Currently, biodiversity is under negative pressure from land-use, biological invasions, and pollution. As a result, numerous species are threatened with extinction, for example, 25% of the World's ~5,500 mammal species. Over the next 100 years CC will constitute an additional pressure, with potentially severe impacts. CC is already affecting ecosystems and biodiversity globally, causing changes in ecosystem functioning, species abundances, and species ranges. With an increase in global mean temperature of just >1.5-2.5C 20-30% of the species studied may experience an increased risk of extinction.
Although strong losses are unavoidable if the climate change is not strongly curtailed beyond business-as-usual expectations, the CC impact will strong depend on interactions with other pressures, notably land-use. Key adaptation strategies are:
1. Reducing other pressures on biodiversity: A key adaptation strategy would be decreasing other pressures on biodiversity (habitat loss etc) to increase resilience to CC. It is therefore crucial that CC mitigation and adaptation (especially in land-use, e.g., biofuel crops) should be implemented in ways that alleviates rather puts additional negative pressure on biodiversity.
2. CC-integrated conservation planning: Maintain viable, connected and genetically diverse populations by a variety of means (expand reserve systems, design of reserve systems to be robust to CC, CC-off-setting local management (controlled burning to reduce fuel loads ect.), captive breeding, assisted migration/translocation, engineering new habitats et
|Contact: Tilo Arnhold|
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres