Climate Change represents an enormous risk for biodiversity, including ecosystems. The group of experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that climate change is expected to affect individual organisms, populations, range shifts, as well as ecosystems functions due to the increase in temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, extreme weather and climate events and rise in sea levels. (IPCC, Climate Change and Biodiversity, 2002).
Future scenarios exceed the ability of many species to adapt, be it either through migration, changes in behavioral patterns or genetic modifications, which can result in population reductions, diversity loss and even the extinction of a significant number of species that are more sensitive to change. (Smith 1997).
Studies carried out by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) indicate that a third part of the planet’s habitats are under risk and could disappear or change by the end of this century.
The species that will be more affected by climate change are those found on islands, mountains and peninsulas, those with small populations and those who face migration difficulties. It’s important to consider as well that current conditions make species migration a much more difficult process today than it was thousands of years ago. Today, with a human population of over six billion people and a vast percentage of fragmented habitats, migration constitutes a tremendous challenge for many species.
Already there is evidence of how species are responding to global warming. Some examples are shown next:
The loss of species can also alter the production of consumption goods such as food, water and wood and become a threat to those populations that depend on nature to survive. On the other hand, the reduction in biodiversity can affect soil fertility, nutrient transportation, biological control of plague, plant pollinization, soil formation and erosion control, notoriously affecting the ecological balance of the planet.
Mexico is considered one of the five countries with more biological diversity in the world, containing almost 60% of the biological riches of the planet (INE, 2006). For this reason, it’s indispensable to board the subject of climate change and develop actions to help mitigate it as soon as possible and avoid damages to our natural heritage.