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Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

  • David H. ReedEmail author

Abstract

Biodiversity, the diversity of living things on Earth, is a critical measure of the Earth’s health. Biodiversity provides immense direct benefits to humans, with at least 40% of the world’s economy being derived from biological resources. Maintaining biodiversity provides greater food security, opportunities for economic development, and provides a foundation for new pharmaceuticals and other medical advances. Ironically, maintaining biodiversity levels and functioning ecosystems is critical to ameliorating climate change; yet, climate change is expected to cause serious disruptions to Earth’s ecological systems, resulting in an overall loss of biodiversity and a reduction in the goods and services provided to humans. Extinction rates in the future are very difficult to predict. However, with immediate and decisive action to mitigate climate change, losses of biodiversity can be minimized and humans can continue to reap many of the benefits nature provides; business as usual scenarios will likely lead to the loss of >50% of all plant and animal species on Earth and the collapse of many ecosystems worldwide. Such losses will drastically lower the quality of life for humans and will take millions of years to reverse.

Keywords

Ecosystem Service Coral Reef Soil Erosion Mangrove Forest Extinction Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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