marți, 2 iunie 2009

Will protected areas remain effective in the face of climate change?

Protected areas conserve biodiversity, but there are concerns that they may be less effective if climate change causes shifts in the distribution of species. A new study models the future movement of sub-Saharan birds in protected areas. Although many species will move, most will find suitable habitats amongst the network of protected areas under a scenario of intermediate climate change. One per cent of endangered species will lose all suitable habitat from the region.

To help stop biodiversity loss in Europe, the EU has set up a network of over 26,000 protected areas forming the Natura 2000 network1. These represent more than 20 per cent of total EU territory. They have been established on the basis of the current distribution of species.

Climate change will have large impacts on biodiversity and will cause shifts in the distribution of species as they search for new, suitable habitat. In the case of the protected areas, these shifts could be outside the boundaries of protected areas or it could cause new species to move into the protected area. However, the designated sites constitute valuable space for nature, possibly allowing other species to move in.


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