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Friday, June 14, 2013

Missing the obvious – even thriving species at risk from climate disruption

Most species at greatest risk from global climate disruption are not currently conservation priorities and have been wrongly omitted from conservation planning, according to a new international study.
Identifying the World's Most Climate Change Vulnerable Species: A Systematic Trait-Based Assessment of all Birds, Amphibians and Corals, found that up to 83% of birds, 66% of amphibians and 70% of corals that have been identified as highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate disruption are not currently considered threatened with extinction, and are therefore unlikely to be receiving focused conservation attention.

The study - led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - was published in the journal PLOS ONE.  It draws on the work of more than 100 scientists over a period of five years.  It comes on the heels of a study that found that more than half of all plants and a third of all animal species are at risk of dramatic declines as their habitats shrink over the next seven decades due to climate disruption.

Loss of habitats driven by a rising human population, over-exploitation, and invasive species are now the main causes of extinctions, the study said, but climate disruption looms. Up to nine percent of all birds, 15% of all amphibians and nine percent of all corals that were found to be highly vulnerable to climate change are already threatened with extinction due to unsustainable logging and agricultural expansion and should be the most urgent conservation priorities.

The study recommends that those conservation priorities – such as deciding where to locate protected areas for wildlife - should be revised to take account of the emerging climate risks. They should be integral to climate change mitigation strategies.

We are shredding the web of life as we dementedly continue to conduct the largest uncontrolled chemistry experiment in history - the carbonization of our atmosphere. Isn't it obvious that the growing list of potential casualty species includes our own?


  1. Excellent post Mr. Quigley. You are sorely missed in the PA/DCNR.

    1. Thank you for reading, and for the kind words.