by 2100 only 18 to 45 percent of the plants and animals making up ecosystems in global, humid tropical forests may remain as we know them today, according to a new study.
The study by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology combined new deforestation and selective logging data with climate-change projections.
“This is the first global compilation of projected ecosystem impacts for humid tropical forests affected by these combined forces,” said Greg Asner.
“For those areas of the globe projected to suffer most from climate change, land managers could focus their efforts on reducing the pressure from deforestation, thereby helping species adjust to climate change, or enhancing their ability to move in time to keep pace with it,” said Asner.
The scientists looked at land use and climate change by integrating global deforestation and logging maps from satellite imagery and high-resolution data with projected future vegetation changes from 16 different global climate models.
They then ran scenarios on how different types of species could be geographically reshuffled by 2100.They used the reorganization of plant classes, such as tropical broadleaf evergreen trees, tropical drought deciduous trees, plus different kinds of grasses as surrogates for biodiversity changes.
For Central and South America, climate change could alter about two-thirds of the humid tropical forests biodiversity-the variety and abundance of plants and animals in an ecosystem.
Combining that scenario with current patterns of land-use change, and the Amazon Basin alone could see changes in biodiversity over 80 percent of the region.
Most of the changes in the Congo area likely to come from selective logging and climate change, which could negatively affect between 35 percent and 74 percent of that region.
At the continental scale, about 70 percent of Africa’s tropical forest biodiversity would likely be affected if current practices are not curtailed.
“This study is the strongest evidence yet that the world’s natural ecosystems will undergo profound changes-including severe alterations in their species composition-through the combined influence of climate change and land use. Conservation of the world’s biota, as we know it, will depend upon rapid, steep declines in greenhouse gas emissions,” remarked Daniel Nepstad, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center.
The study was published in the Conservation Letters. (ANI)