Extinction risk from climate change

Thomas C.D. ; Cameron A. ; Green R.E. ; Bakkenes M. ; Beaumont L.J. ; Collingham Y.C. ; Erasmus B.F.N. ; Ferreira De Siqueira M. ; Grainger A. ; Hannah L. ; Hughes L. ; Huntley B. ; Van Jaarsveld A.S. ; Midgley G.F. ; Miles L. ; Ortega-Huerta M.A. ; Peterson A.T. ; Phillips O.L. ; Williams S.E. (2004)


Climate change over the past ∼30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species and has been implicated in one species-level extinction. Using projections of species' distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be 'committed to extinction'. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction (∼18%) than mid-range (∼24%) and maximum-change (∼35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/12321
This item appears in the following collections: