Species at risk from climate change

Jul 06, 2013
Species at risk from climate change

A study conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has revealed that certain species most at risk from climate change are not on the list of conservation priorities. The study has introduced a ground-breaking method of assessing species’ vulnerability to climate change. The paper assesses all of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals, and draws on the work of more than 100 scientists over a period of five years.

Up to 83% of birds, 66% of amphibians and 70% of corals that were identified as highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are not currently considered threatened with extinction on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and as a result they are unlikely to be receiving focused conservation attention. The findings of the study reveal alarming surprises because it was not expected that so many species and areas that were not previously considered to be of concern would emerge as highly vulnerable to climate change.

This means if the world carries on with conservation as usual, without taking climate change into account, it will fail to help many of the species. The study’s approach looks at the unique biological and ecological characteristics that make species more or less sensitive or adaptable to climate change, while conventional methods have focussed largely on measuring the amount of change to which species are likely to be exposed.

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