If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, unique animals and plants from the world’s most amazing natural locations can become extinct. This warning has surfaced in a new scientific study published in the journal Biological Conservation. Although remaining within the climatic goals of the Paris Agreement – which aims to keep global temperatures below 2 ° C, ideally at 1.5 ° C – will save the majority of species.
A global team of scientists has analyzed nearly 300 biodiversity hotspots – places with exceptionally high numbers of animal and plant species – on land and sea. Many of these hotspots have endemic ‘species that are unique to a geographic location such as an island or a country.
They found that if the planet is warmer than 3 ° C, one third of the endemic species living on land and about half of the endemic species living in the sea face extinction. On the mountains, 84 percent of the endemic animals and plants face extinction at these temperatures, while on the islands the number rises to 100 percent. Overall, 92 percent of land-based endemic species and 95 percent of marine introns bear negative consequences. Such as a decrease in the number at 3 ° C. Current policies put the world on track for heating at around 3 ° C.
The results of the research paper suggest that climate change will negatively affect the most native and endemic species – those found only in very specific locations of the planet. In particular, the analysis shows that more than four of all local species from islands and more than five local species from mountains are at high risk of extinction due to climate change alone.
In Asia, the mountains of the Western Ghats, including the Indian Ocean Islands, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, may lose most of their endemic plants by 2050 due to climate change. Other threatened species in the area include iconic animals such as the Persian Panther. Baluchistan Black Bear and Snow Leopard. Many Himalayan species are threatened. Such as the medicinal lichen Lobaria pindariensis, traditionally used to relieve skin diseases, arthritis and indigestion and Himalayan musk deer. Coral reefs such as South East Asia also have a danger of increasing temperatures above 1.5 ° C.
However, the paper also provides hope. Researchers estimate that keeping the global temperature within the range set by the Paris Agreement would increase the risk of these species by more than ten times.
Endemic species include the world’s most iconic animals and plants. Species threatened by climate change include all species of Lemur, unique to Madagascar. Blue Crane, which is the national bird of South Africa; And the snow leopard is one of the most charismatic animals in the Himalayas.
The study found that extinction is 2.7 times more likely to occur with spatially uncontrolled temperature increases, as they are found in only one location. If the climate changes the habitat where they live, they leave the face of the Earth. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, most of their endemic plants in places like the Caribbean islands, Madagascar and Sri Lanka could become extinct as early as 2050. The tropics are particularly vulnerable, with over 60 percent of extinct species experiencing extinction.
But all is not lost. Most endemic species will survive if countries reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. Overall, only 2 percent of endemic land species and 2 percent of endemic marine species are extinct at 1.5 4C and 4 percent each at 2ºC. Strong commitments from global leaders ahead of the climate change summit in Glasgow later this year could put the world on track to meet the Paris Agreement and avoid widespread destruction of some of the world’s largest natural treasures.
Stella Mans, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said climate change threatens species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If we miss the goals of the Paris Agreement, the risk of such a species dying forever increases more than tenfold. ”
“Biodiversity has more value than meets the eye. The greater the diversity of species, the higher the health of nature. Diversity also protects from threats such as climate change. A healthy nature provides an indispensable contribution to people like water, food, supplies, disaster prevention, recreation and cultural and spiritual connections. ”
Wolfgang Kiesling, a marine expert and study author at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said, our study shows that a similar and potentially boring world is ahead of us due to climate change. The prevailing species benefit, while the species that makes the hotspot distinctive will be lost.
Mark Costello, marine expert at the University of Nord and University of Auckland and author of the study, said this study found that geographically rare species, especially those living on islands and mountains, were already exposed to current climate change. There is a danger of extinction. By nature these species cannot easily move to a more favorable environment. Analysis indicated that all species accounted for 20 percent. Climate change is in danger of extinction in the coming decades, unless we take action now. “
Shobha S Maharaj, island expert in the Caribbean Environmental Science and Renewable Energy Journal and author of the study, said, “This study is primarily about climate change for geographically rare species living on eight times more islands than mainland regions.” The reason is the risk of extinction. The geographical rarity of these species makes them a global value for nature. Such species cannot easily migrate to more favorable environments and their extinction may result in the loss of global species. “
Our results indicate that rich-endemic species are much more vulnerable than non-endemics to the global average, says Roseanne Jenkins, researcher and study author at the Tyndall Center for Climate Research at the University of East Angelia , Which reinforces their preference for conservation work.
This analysis adds nuances in the assessment of climate change risk to biodiversity, and the wide range of vulnerability estimates found in the literature, said Guy F. Midgley, researcher and author of the study, Global Change Biology Group, Stellenbosch University Can help explain.
Mariana M. Vale, researcher and author of the study at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said, we confirmed our suspicion that endemic species – which are found elsewhere in the world – would be particularly threatened by climate change. This may increase the worldwide extinction rate, as these are full of biodiversity rich endemic species. “
Unfortunately, our study suggests that those biodiversity-rich spots will not be able to act as safe havens from climate change.
According to the Global Change Biology Group, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, resilience versus relative susceptibility of invasive alien species to climate change and vulnerability of indigenous species will be a concern for biodiversity managers in Africa.
The Mediterranean is particularly vulnerable to climate change, with marine species in the Mediterranean Sea being the most threatened in the world, said marine expert Mark Costello of Nord University and Auckland University.
Shobha S Maharaj, island expert in the Caribbean Environmental Science and Renewable Energy Journal, said this study found that there is nowhere for species to be threatened by extinction due to climate change, but archipelago such as the Caribbean, Pacific, Southeast Asia , Is eight times higher than in mainland regions in the Mediterranean or Oceania. The geographical rarity of these species makes them a global value for nature. Such species cannot easily migrate to more favorable environments and their extinction may result in the loss of global species. “
Mariana M. Valle, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said the climate crisis threatens Central and South America’s incredible biodiversity – if we exceed the emissions targets set by the Paris Agreement, we will be elsewhere on Earth Will destroy the iconic creatures found.