New research shows up to half of all birds are threatened by climate change.
Research has been carried out that shows up to a quarter to a half of all birds are highly vulnerable to climate change. This research was carried out as part of a study into the impact of global warming on life. Some researchers have started that there is a huge need for conservation efforts if we are unable as a world to cut down on our emissions.
The report was carried out by scientists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is an organisation that regularly produces a list of threatened species in the world called The Red List. This Red List however was created a long time before climate change was an issue. It is only that climate change is becoming such a game changer that the Red List is now taking it to have a lot more importance.
Of course it was a very difficult study to make as there are many future implications to take note of. For example, the study mapped out where the climate conditions of a species lived currently and how that area may change as the climate changes. Of course, it is very difficult to predict if the bird will be able to adapt and change to its new surroundings. Some species may find it impossible, whereas others may flourish. A likelyhood is that some species may simply move to new areas.
In this study, Wendy Foden from the IUCN in Cambridge, UK have tried to take into account how quickly species could relocate and what barriers were in the animals way such as mountain ranges. It has been argued that species that are able to reproduce quickly have a better chance of evolving to new their new surroundings that those who don’t.
"If you're a narwhal and only breed once every two years, it's not going to happen," says Foden
The criteria that Foden has come up with has been applied to birds, amphibians and corals. Certain species were classed as highly vulnerable if their local climate was changing rapidly, their sensitivity to these changes and of course their ability to adapt and relocate.
For birds, it was said that 24-50% were said to be at a high risk.
The worrying problem is that many of the species are not currently classified as threatened species.
Current areas which are a danger are the Amazon rain forest, birds surrounding the arctic and also the corals in the Caribbean.
In the end, the study called for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
"Minimising the rate and extent of climate change will reduce the amount of action required," Chris Thomas, from the University of York said.
A similar study made in 2004 estimated that 15-37% of species will be committed to extinction by 2050 due to climate change.
Source: New Scientist
Photo: Duncan Rawlinson