World-first global study links climate to severe habitat loss

January 5, 2012
The magnitude of habitat loss/fragmentation effects were greatest in regions with high maximum temperatures.

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a world first, University of Queensland and CSIRO scientists have measured the relationship between current climate, climate change and habitat loss on plants and animals on a global scale.

Their results, published recently in Global Change Biology indicate that areas with and where average rainfall has decreased over time increase the chance of a species being negatively affected by habitat loss and fragmentation.

“Human population growth has caused significant habitat degradation across the globe, typically in support of agriculture and urban development,” lead researcher Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle from UQ's School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management said.

“This alone has negatively impacted many species, but combined with rises in temperature and reduced rainfall as a result of a changing climate, there could be catastrophic results for some populations. Serious declines are already a reality for many species.”

The findings have important implications for the conservation of biodiversity under .

“Conservation policy and management strategies that don't take into account the combined effects of habitat loss and a changing climate may be inefficient and at worst ineffective,” Ms. Mantyka-Pringle said.

The study suggests the negative effects of interactions between habitat loss and climate on higher order species, such as mammals, reptiles and amphibians are universal.

Ms Mantyka-Pringle said drastic measures may be needed to preserve the world's wildlife for future generations.

“In areas where the effects of climate change and its interactions with are expected to be severe, our current management approaches may be inadequate,” she said.

“In these cases more proactive management strategies such as moving species, engineering habitat, and even abandoning our efforts to save certain species in one area in favour of other areas may be more effective.”

The authors argue it is becoming increasingly apparent that ecosystems and are not at risk from a single threat but rather a multitude of factors.

“Understanding the synergistic effects between climate change and other threatening processes has critical implications for our ability to support and incorporate climate change adaptation measures into policy development and management response," Ms. Mantyka-Pringle said.

Explore further: Australia’s biodiversity under increasing threat from multiple fronts

Related Stories

Koalas feel the heat

May 4, 2011

The Australian koala is vulnerable to climate change, with the iconic Australian marsupial's habitat likely to be restricted to the highly urbanised areas of eastern and southern Australia under a hotter and drier climate, ...

Plants protect from climate impacts

August 2, 2011

Native vegetation must be restored to protect Australia’s unique ecosystems from the impacts of climate change, according to scientists from the Australian National University.

British butterfly is evolving to respond to climate change

November 30, 2011

As global temperatures rise and climatic zones move polewards, species will need to find different environments to prevent extinction. New research, published today in the journal Molecular Ecology, has revealed that climate ...

Biodiversity and climate change - from bad to worse

December 8, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A major new scientific review, involving more than 30 scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands sets out our current knowledge of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the ...

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Study shows female frogs susceptible to 'decoy effect'

August 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers has found that female túngaras, frogs that live in parts of Mexico and Central and South America, appear to be susceptible to the "decoy effect." In their paper published in the journal ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

HROLLER
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2012
Unilateral Geoengineering
Non-technical Briefing Notes for a Workshop
At the Council on Foreign Relations
Washington DC, May 05, 2008

http://patriotpor...2709.pdf
HROLLER
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2012
~Chemtrails~I Was The Doctor Treating The Pilots~Dr. Deagle~

http://www.youtub...2y_Mxl3Q
HROLLER
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2012
"What in the World are They Spraying?" - Official Trailer

http://www.youtub...FOsKL_5Q

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.