Recent studies have found that the crisis emerging from a provoked human climate change is outstripping many animals’ capacity to adapt. Common species such as sparrows, deer and magpies are under growing threat especially, according to a study.
The scientists at the forefront of the research described the results as alarming because they showed a shockingly dangerous lag between a human-driven shift in the seasons and changes in the animals behavioral patterns in the natural world.
Egg-laying by birds, budding of plants and flying of insects are all examples of species responding to warming temperatures by earlier timing of biological events – Jonathan Watts highlighted.
The new metastudy published in Nature Research, examines how effective this is in terms of reproduction and survival.
Based on 10,090 abstracts and extracted from 71 published studies, a clear lag was found in the majority of species studied and none were safe from the impacts.
It was said by the authors that hundreds of thousands of species were not covered by their study – the study was heavily weighted towards birds in the northern hemisphere. Animals that are already at risk of being extinct will find the adaptation to climate change even more challenging.
“Personally I find the results alarming. Species attempt to adapt to changing environment, but they cannot do it at a sufficient pace to ensure that populations are viable. Climate change has caused irreversible damage to our biodiversity already, as evidenced by the findings of this study. The fact that species struggle to adapt to the current rate of climate change means we have to take action immediately in order to at least halt or decrease the rate.” – Said Viktoriia Radchuk of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany.
Last year, the UK parliament received a message as senior conservation figures warned that the nation’s natural infrastructure was being undermined by the impacts of the climate crisis, pollution, urban sprawl and budget cuts. Bearing in mind that it provides fresh water, clean air, carbon sequestration and human well-being.
“This century will be judged by our success or not in dealing with these unprecedented challenges. If we continue on as we are, I fear that biodiversity will continue to decline in this country” – said Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England, which is the government’s main advisory body on conservation.
He explained to the Environmental Audit committee that the current system of monitoring and protecting nature reserves and sites had been undermined by a budget cut of about 60% over the last 10 years. This left a very stressed and demoralised skeleton crew.
However, it wasn’t too late to reverse this. Outlined plans for a nature recovery network that would rebuild woodlands and peatlands which are environmentally important areas of land for biodiversity to thrive. Also, working with farmers to protect species and build and restore soil quality.
He continue to elaborate how this is probably the best investment we can make for the future of this country. “Unlike other assets – like roads and bridges, which depreciate over time – you get more value in the future.” We could be looking at a 10-100 fold in return in terms of better food, water and carbon sequestration, – citing economists.
Jonathan Watts wrote that his views were echoed by the head of the Committee on Climate Change. In correspondence with the Paris agreement of 2050, John Gummer said it would be impossible for the UK to reach its goal of net zero emissions by that year – without investing in biodiversity protection and renewal.
Credit: Jonathan Watts – The Guardian