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The worst impact of climate change may be how humanity reacts to it
Date:8/6/2010

art by climatic instability in Burkina Faso in the late 20th century, for example, led to a 13 per cent decline in forest cover as areas were cleared for agriculture, and a decline in fish supplies in Ghana may have led to a significant increase in bushmeat hunting.

Dr Turner added: "If we don't take a look at the whole picture, but instead choose to look only at small parts of it we stand to make poor decisions about how to respond that could do more damage than climate change itself to the planet's biodiversity and the ecosystem services that help to keep us all alive.

"While the Tsunami in 2004 was not a climate event, many of the responses that it stimulated are comparable with how people will react to extreme weather events and the damage that the response to the Tsunami did to many of Aceh province's important ecosystems as a result of extraction of timber and other building materials, and poor choices of locations for building , should be a lesson to us all."

Although the challenge of sustaining biodiversity in the face of climate change seems daunting, the paper notes that we must and can rise to the challenge.

Turner adds: "Climate change mitigation and adaptation are essential. We have to ensure that these responses do not compromise the biodiversity and ecosystem services upon which societies ultimately depend. We have to reduce emissions, we have to ensure the stability of food supplies jeopardized by climate change, we have to help people survive severe weather events but we must plan these things so that we don't destroy life-sustaining forests, wetlands, and oceans in the process.'

The paper concludes that there are many ways of ensuring that the human response to climate change delivers the best possible outcomes for both society and the environments, and notes that in particular, maintaining and restoring natural habitats are among the cheapest, safest, and easiest solutions at our disposal to reduc
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Contact: Rob McNeil
rmcneil@conservation.org
703-341-2561
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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