Magazine article Ecos

Climate Adaptation: Think Globally, Act Locally

Magazine article Ecos

Climate Adaptation: Think Globally, Act Locally

Article excerpt

Biologists should not over-commit time and effort in establishing broader climate change links to local ecological impacts, say an international team of United States, Spanish and Australian researchers. Instead, biologists should aim to achieve a balance between identifying and understanding climate change impacts, and planning for the consequences. (1)

'There is little point in focusing on fully identifying the climate impacts while losing species,' says co-author Dr Elvira Poloczanska, an environment scientist with CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship.

'Biologists have already shown globally that the flowering and breeding times and distributions of plants and animals are changing. This is consistent with universal atmospheric warming and elevated greenhouse gas emissions likely arising from human activity. But if you scale this down to the local level with individual species, the application is questionable,' explains Dr Poloczanska.

Co-author Dr Anthony Richardson, from CSIRO and the University of Queensland, says that to improve estimates of future biological impacts, researchers need to focus on how other human stressors--such as fishing, pollution and habitat destruction--increase the impacts of climate change.

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'Fortunately, from a conservation standpoint, these other stressors are more easily managed on local scales than climate itself, and are crucial factors in constructing adaptation programs to cope with human-induced climate change,' he says. …

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