Biodiversity losses associated with global warming of 1.5 to 4°C above pre-industrial levels in six countries

Price, Jeff, Warren, Rachel ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0122-1599 and Forstenhäusler, Nicole (2024) Biodiversity losses associated with global warming of 1.5 to 4°C above pre-industrial levels in six countries. Climatic Change, 177 (3). ISSN 0165-0009

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Abstract

We quantify the projected impacts of alternative levels of global warming upon the climatically determined geographic ranges of plants and vertebrates in six countries (China, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and India), accounting for uncertainties in regional climate projection. We quantify in a spatially explicit fashion the species richness remaining or lost, allowing the identification of climate refugia which we define as areas where > 75% ]of the species currently present remain in a world with a particular level of global warming above pre-industrial levels. In all countries and in both taxa, species richness declines with warming, as does the proportion of each country remaining a climate refugium for plants or vertebrates. In percentage terms, refugia loss relative to a 1961–1990 baseline period is greatest in India and Brazil, and least in Ghana and Ethiopia for the same level of warming, and is greater for plants than for vertebrates. Taking account of present land uses (i.e. area still considered natural), and using species richness of plants as a proxy to indicate biodiversity more generally, the proportion of land acting as climate refugia for biodiversity in five of the countries variously declines from 54–75% of a country in the 1961–1990 baseline period to 20–64% for 1.5 °C global warming, 11–53% for 2 °C, 3–33% for 3 °C and 2–24% for 4 °C warming. In Ethiopia, India, Brazil and China, climate refugia decline rapidly with warming while in Ghana and China some refugia persist even with 3–4 °C of warming. Only small percentages of Brazil, India and China are both climate refugia and lie within protected areas; hence, an expansion of the protected area networks in these countries would be required to deliver climate resilient biodiversity conservation. These percentages are larger in Ethiopia and Ghana and, in some areas of Ghana, the only remaining refugia are in protected areas, the remaining landscape converted to other uses.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Data and code availability: This publication is based on the extraction of data from an existing well established database and hence code availability is not applicable. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. Funding information: This research leading to these results received funding from the UK Government, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as part of the 1.5–4 °C warming project under contract number UKSBS CR18083-S2.
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change,biodiversity,risk,climate refugia,species richness,species richness,global and planetary change,atmospheric science,sdg 15 - life on land,sdg 13 - climate action,3* ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2306
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Biology
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climatic Research Unit
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2024 18:36
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2024 09:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94528
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-023-03666-2

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