Biodiversity: Climate Change

Authored by: Lisa Freudenberger , Jan Hanning Sommer

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ENRL-120047624

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Abstract

Climate and biodiversity are interacting in multiple and complex ways. Climate parameters such as temperature and precipitation influence the distribution of species and ecosystems, while in turn biodiversity can affect climate. Therefore, climate change is expected to have a dramatic effect on biodiversity at all levels including species and their habitats, species interactions, ecosystems, and genetic diversity. As biodiversity is the basis for many ecosystem services humanity depends on, climate change may also affect the constant provision of these services. Different concepts and methods have been developed to explain the relationship between climate change and biodiversity and to predict future biodiversity changes under climate change scenarios. This task represents a major challenge as it is associated with a high degree of complexity and uncertainty, but provides valuable output for science and policy. The most prominent strategies to tackle climate change are either to mitigate its incidence or to adapt to its implications. Climate change mitigation refers to the avoidance of climate-relevant emissions while climate change adaptation describes adjustment measures of the natural or social system to cope with new climatic conditions. Both, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies can be based on pure technological solutions or the natural functions of biodiversity making use of ecosystem-based or ecosystem engineering strategies. In the past, biodiversity conservation and climate change policy have often operated in isolation while joint actions would have been indicated. Recently, a closer collaboration was started and international initiatives were established to facilitate the utilization of synergies and cross-cutting issues.

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