The authors say the vulnerability map will help governments, environmental agencies, and donors identify areas where to best invest in protected area establishment, restoration efforts, and other conservation activities so as to have the biggest return on investment in saving ecosystems and the services they provide to wildlife and people alike.
The study appears in an online version of the journal Nature Climate Change. The authors include: Dr James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland; Dr Takuya Iwamura of Stanford University; and Nathalie Butt of the University of Queensland.
"We need to realize that climate change is going to impact ecosystems both directly and indirectly in a variety of ways and we can't keep on assuming that all adaptation actions are suitable everywhere. The fact is there is only limited funds out there and we need to start to be clever in our investments in adaptation strategies around the world,," said Dr. James Watson, Director of WCS's Climate Change Program and lead author of the Nature study. "The analysis and map in this study is a means of bringing clarity to complicated decisions on where limited resources will do the most good."
The researchers argue that almost all climate change assessments to date are incomplete in that they assess how future climate change is going to impact landscapes and seascapes, without considering the fact that most of these landscapes have modified by human activities in different ways, making them more or less susceptible to climate change.
A vulnerability map produced in the study examines the relationship of two metrics: how intact an ecosystem is, and how stable the ecosystem is going to be under predictions of future climate change. The analysis creates a rating system with four general categories for the world's terrestrial regions, with management recommendations determined by the combination of factors.
Ecosystems with highly intact vegetation and high relative climate stability, for instance, are the best locations for future protected areas, as these have the best chance of retaining species. In contrast, ecosystems with low levels of vegetation and high relative climate stability could merit efforts at habitat restoration. Ecosystems with low levels of vegetation intactness and low climate stability would be most at risk and would require significant levels of investment to achieve conservation outcomes.
The new map, the authors say, identifies southern and southeastern Asia, western and central Europe, eastern South America, and southern Australia as some of the most vulnerable regions. The analysis differs from previous climate change exposure assessments based on only climate change exposure which shows the most vulnerable regions as central Africa, northern South America, and northern Australia.
"Effective conservation strategies must anticipate not only how species and habitats will cope with future climate change, but how humans will respond to these challenges," added Dr. John Robinson, Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. "To that end, maintaining the integrity of the world's ecosystems will be the most important means of safeguarding the natural world and our own future."
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit http://www.wcs.org.
Stephen Sautner | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.wcs.org
Further Reports about: Climate change > Conservation Science > future climate > future climate change > Nature Immunology > Wildlife > Wildlife Conservation > Wildlife Conservation Society > wildlife park
More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:
Rising Ocean Acidification Leads to Anxiety in Fish
05.12.2013 | University of California - San Diego
Turning wet biomass waste into high-value products
04.12.2013 | ttz Bremerhaven
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born.
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The young ...
EPFL scientists have shown how to achieve a dramatic increase in the capacity of optical fibers; Their simple, innovative solution reduces the amount of space required between the pulses of light that transport data
Optical fibers carry data in the form of pulses of light over distances of thousands of miles at amazing speeds. They are one of the glories of modern telecommunications technology.
However, their capacity is limited, because the pulses of light need to be lined up one after the other in ...
NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel airborne mission known as HS3 wrapped up for the 2013 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season at the end of September, and had several highlights. HS3 will return to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
During the 2013 mission, two unmanned Global Hawks flew from Wallops for the first time. The mission highlights included studying the Saharan Air Layer, following the genesis of a tropical storm, finding a unique hybrid core or center circulation in a redeveloped storm, obtaining measurements on the strongest side of ...
05.12.2013 | Health and Medicine
05.12.2013 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
05.12.2013 | Information Technology
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News