Monday, November 16, 2009

Biodiversity and climate change

Boundary between the Mfungabusi Forest, Zimbabwe, and surrounding farmland highlights the contrast between protected and nonprotected landscapes.

In last week's Science there was an interesting 'Perspectives' article on Biodiversity and Climate Change.

Kathy Willis and Dr Shonil of Oxford University suggest that predictions made over the last decade about the impacts of climate change on biodiversity may be exaggerated.

They suggest that ‘we should expect to see species turnover, migrations, and novel communities, but not necessarily the levels of extinction previously predicted’.

I think their final paragraph, and final sentence, is particularly thought provoking.:
The results also highlight a serious issue for future conservationists: the urgent need to develop a research agenda for regions outside of protected reserves in human-modified landscapes. Although every measure should be put in place to reduce further fragmentation of reserves, we must determine what represents a "good" intervening matrix in these human-modified landscapes. Furthermore, with the combination of climate change and habitat destruction, novel ecosystems are going to become increasingly common. Their conservation will require a whole new definition of what is "natural".

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