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New study shows world's protected areas threatened by climate change
Date:12/10/2007

Denpasar, Indonesia (Dec. 10, 2007) Climate change will affect national parks, forest reserves and other protected areas around the world, in some cases altering conditions so severely that the resulting environments will be virtually new to the planet, according to a study presented at the U.N. climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia.

Scientists from Conservation International (CI), the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland analyzed the World Protected Areas Database with ten Global Climate Models and three different scenarios examined by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They found that under the most likely scenario, more than half the worlds protected territory is vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with some regions facing the disappearance of current climatic conditions by 2100 or a transition to conditions not found on Earth in the previous century.

We previously assumed that if the land is protected, then the plants and animals living there will persist, said Sandy Andelman, lead author of the study and CIs vice president who heads the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) network. That may be wishful thinking.

Countries where 90 percent or more of the total protected territory has climate conditions that will disappear globally or be transformed to novel climates are Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Niger, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Venezuela.

With millions of people living in the most seriously affected countries, maintaining the health of protected areas and the biological diversity they contain is crucial to the availability of fresh water, food, medicines and other life-sustaining benefits of nature.

However, the study indicates that climate change will cause increased extinctions of species unable to adapt to altered climatic conditions, and
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Contact: Tom Cohen
tcohen@conservation.org
62-813-183-59753
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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