Enabling environmental change in the context of climate change is essential to maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services – Animals & Plants News

As the need to tackle climate change grows more urgent, so does the simultaneous need for proactive management of Earth’s rapidly changing biosphere, according to a study published today in the review. Science.

“We can really do a lot to help systems adapt to impending climate change,” says Jonathan Moore, a Simon Fraser University biology professor and author, who along with University of Washington professor Daniel Schindler has reviewed and evaluated the potential benefits of progress. Looking approach. . “From restoring connectivity to reducing local pressures to preserving future habitats, all of these proactive approaches can help the ecosystems we depend on to adapt to climate change.”

With this in mind, for species and ecosystems to adapt and be resilient, it is necessary to move beyond approaches that focus on conservation and include those that enable environmental change, Schindler points out. “Local efforts to conserve biodiversity and regenerate complex habitats will also help conserve a variety of future options for species and ecosystems into the unpredictable future.”

While the movement of species to new habitats has been central to the biosphere’s adaptive response to a changing world, climate change is also altering these ecosystems, leading to the loss of some species and the addition of others.

The authors note that conservation should focus not only on “climate change losers,” but also on the proactive management of emerging opportunities and pressures. In the Arctic, warming oceans and shrinking sea ice may increase fish production, but they threaten some species such as polar bears that depend on ice to hunt seals. The loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean is also increasing pressures from industrial activities such as shipping and oil and gas exploration that pose environmental risks. These pressures must be managed as part of a forward-looking approach to ensure that the Arctic ecosystem is managed in the future.

Earth’s biodiversity has a history of change, as genes, species, populations, and ecosystems evolve flexibly with a changing world. “Earth’s systems have an amazing ability to adapt and resist change,” Moore says. This has allowed some species to persist for millions of years. But our actions seriously undermine this ability to adapt. »

The authors warn that even with the most aggressive emission reduction strategies, warming will “continue for decades” before potential recovery, and strategies that enable adaptation and resilience will be essential to keep ecosystems functioning and biodiversity preserved.

“Natural resource management and conservation efforts will need to integrate the dynamic aspects of the biosphere to help maintain functioning ecosystems and protect biodiversity in the context of ongoing climate change,” Moore said.

It’s important and urgent for humanity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Schindler says, and “The reality is that the world is getting warmer and systems are changing. We often expect ecosystems to always look the same, or that certain species will always be in the same places. It wasn’t. The biosphere is absolutely static – and we have to adopt management approaches that maintain a dynamic and fluid biosphere. Thus, conservation and management must be forward-looking – forward-looking, and proactive – working for the future.”

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Material provided by Simon Fraser University. Original by Melissa Shaw. Note: Content can be modified according to style and length.

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