New publication: Climate change as a threat to biodiversity

Ines Omann, Andrea Stocker and Jill Jäger published an article in the  Special Section: The DPSIR framework for Biodiversity Assessment of the Ecological Economics Journal. The new publication “Climate change as a threat to biodiversity: An application of the DPSIR approach” is a result of the Alarm project (Assessing large scale environmental risks for biodiversity with tested methods).

Abstract: Climate change and its consequences present one of the most important threats to biodiversity and the functions of ecosystems. The stress on biodiversity is far beyond the levels imposed by the global climatic changes occurring in the recent evolutionary past. It includes temperature increases, shifts of climate zones, melting of snow and ice, sea level rise, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events. Natural systems are vulnerable to such changes due to their limited adaptive capacity. Based on an analysis using the DPSIR framework, this paper identifies the socio-economic driving forces of climate change, such as use of fossil fuels or agricultural practices. The paper also analyses possible changes of climate and their effects on biodiversity, the resulting impacts on ecosystem functions, and possible policy responses. The latter can be divided into mitigation and adaptation measures. Both strategies are needed, mitigation in order to stabilise the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and adaptation in order to adjust to systems that are already affected. The response to both oil depletion and to climate change through increased biofuel production will change land use patterns and increase human appropriation of net primary production of biomass, thereby threatening biodiversity. By considering the first order and second order impacts of climate change on biodiversity when developing policy measures, it will be possible to integrate ecosystem and biodiversity protection into those processes.

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