Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Climate change should reduce variety of plants and animals

The main effects, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change, should be felt in the Amazon, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and Australia. Half of the common species of plants and animals can suffer a significant decline in their habitat due to climate change in the coming decades, warns a study published on Sunday and published in the journal, Nature Climate Change.

According to research, biodiversity around the world will suffer severely if temperatures rise above 2 ° C. And the main effects should be felt in the Amazon, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and Australia.

Rising high temperatures should affect even the most common species worldwide

"Our research predicts that climate change will drastically reduce the diversity of even common species found in most of the world," says the study's lead author, Rachel Warren of the University of East England (UK).

"The loss of biodiversity on a global scale will impoverish the biosphere and ecosystems significantly." For humans, the side effect is that "these species are important for purification of air and water, flood control, nutrient availability and ecotourism."


The study, by researchers from the UK, Colombia and Australia, followed nearly 50,000 species worldwide, analyzing temperatures and rainfall in their habitats. They mapped the areas that would remain suitable for the survival of these species in different climatic scenarios.

If there are significant efforts to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, even so, two-thirds of the plants and almost half of the animals will lose their habitat by the year 2080.

The good news, however, is that these losses can be contained if action is taken to mitigate climate change.

"Quick action can reduce these losses by 60% and give 40 more years for species to adapt (to change)," says the study. "By reducing the global warming of 4º C to 2º C, time can be gained to adapt to the remaining two degrees."

Threatened biodiversity

But if the negative scenario is confirmed, the biodiversity of common plants and animals will shrink almost worldwide. "It is worrying because even small declines of these species can significantly affect ecosystems," says Warren. The study looked at higher temperatures, but it is necessary to take into account other issues, says Warren.

"The occurrence of climate extremes, pests and diseases means that our estimates are probably conservative. Especially animals would suffer, because they will lose part of their food that comes from plants." Reptiles and amphibians are perhaps the most threatened in this scenario.

The level of gas that causes the greenhouse effect today reached 400 ppm, the highest in the last two million years
The temperature of the planet advanced 2º C in 2012.  Despite the impact of La Niña, which reduced temperatures in various parts of the world, 2012 will enter the records as the ninth warmest year ever identified by scientists

Translated from the Portuguese version by:

Lisa Karpova