Azara Blog: UK government worried about effect of climate change on animals

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Date published: 2005/10/06

The BBC says:

Climate change could lead to the extinction of many animals including migratory birds, says a report commissioned by the UK government.

Melting ice, spreading deserts and the impact of warm seas on the sex of turtles are among threats identified.

The report is being launched at a meeting of EU nature conservation chiefs in Scotland.

It says that warming has already changed the migration routes of some birds and other animals.

The UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned the research, which was led by the British Trust for Ornithology.

The meeting, in the Scottish holiday resort of Aviemore, was called to discuss ways in which wildlife might be helped to adapt to global warming.
Nature has always had to adapt to changing climate conditions.

Indeed, it is one of the driving forces behind the process of evolution which has produced the staggering variety of life on Earth.

But the fear is that the changes currently under way are simply too rapid for species to evolve new strategies for survival.

Their options are also being narrowed by the rapid conversion of ecosystems such as the draining of wetlands, felling of forests and development of coastlines - so if their existing habitats are hit by global warming, there is literally no place to go.

The report has important messages for conservation officials gathered in Scotland for this meeting convened by Defra.

They are being urged to make more use of "biological corridors" to widen the options available to migrating species as climate change takes hold.

The whole approach to conservation may have to be radically changed - the most perfectly-protected nature reserve could end up being of little use if the animals breeding there face starvation because they have nowhere to migrate.

Nothing new here, another "end of the world" report with the usual litany of dire forecasts. And unfortunately the idea of "biological corridors" might not work since an entire ecosystem might have to move in unison and that is unlikely to be achieved (especially since some of it, the underlying geography, cannot move).

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