Half of species at risk from climate change in nature-rich areas
Half the plants and animals in the world’s most nature-rich areas are at risk of dying out if greenhouse gas emissions rise unchecked, wildlife experts have warned.
Even if goals to limit global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels are met, a quarter of species could still vanish from the most important natural areas on Earth, a scientific study found.
The report reveals the impact of climate change on plants, mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians in irreplaceable and wildlife-rich places, from the Amazon to the Yangtze in China and the Galapagos.
Researchers looked at the impact of temperature rises and rainfall changes under different climate scenarios, from a failure to curb emissions to tough action to limit rises to 2C, on almost 80,000 species in 35 natural areas.
The Amazon, the Miombo Woodlands in southern Africa, home to African wild dogs, and south-west Australia are some of the most affected areas, research by East Anglia University, James Cook University and WWF found.
And species from giant pandas to snow leopards and polar bears could see their territory and food supplies reduced.
Dr Stephen Cornelius from WWF-UK said of the report: “This is a global problem, it shows that across 35 priority places scattered all over the world, all of them over the last 50 years, across all the seasons, have seen temperatures rise.”