The the last century has already led to

The Impact of Climate Change on Wildlife and HabitatsfemaleIn this pod, we’ll discuss the effects of climatechange on wildlife and habitats. maleWe’ve always had climatic fluctuations and the world’splants and animals have always had to deal with them. So, why do we need toworry about the impact of climate change on wildlife and habitats now? Theanswer is a simple one – speed. The rate at which climate change is happeningis unprecedented. Previous changes took place over millennia and species hadtime to migrate and adapt.

The concern is that we no longer have the luxury oftime. This will result in species and habitat losses on previously unseenscales.  femaleChange is already happening. Evidence suggeststhat warming over the last century has already led to ecological changes.  This includes changes in the length ofgrowing seasons, changes in the locations of where species grow and breedingpatterns.  The future existence of thespecies we know today will depend upon their ability to move from areas wherethe climate is no longer favourable. This is clearly much easier for animalsthan plants.

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own
Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get expert help in mere 10 minutes with:
  • Thesis Statement
  • Structure and Outline
  • Voice and Grammar
  • Conclusion
Get essay help
No paying upfront

From the Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’, we may now witnessthe ‘survival of the fastest.’  maleWorld Wildlife Fund scientists have calculatedthat plants and animals will have to move more than 1000 metres polewards peryear if they need to stay in their current climate zone.  This is certainly a long way!The British comma butterfly has moved 220kilometres northwards in the last 20 years and moths on Mount Kinabalu inBorneo have shifted 59 metres uphill in 45 years.  femaleBut what if you’re a polar bear?  You can’t move any further north.  Polar bears and snow leopards literally havenowhere left to go. Around Norway’s polar islands, scientists have found manymore warm water crustaceans. The snow crab is regularly being found 500 kilometresfurther north than previously.

maleSeasonal changes are trigger points for importantstages in the life cycle of plants and animals, such as in mating, reproducingand migrating.  Scientists have noticed aphenomenon that they call ‘spring advancement.’ This is the earlier arrival of breeding seasons and migration, as well asof plants coming into bud and flowering. For example, birds such as the songthrush are arriving in England earlier than before and edible dormice arecoming out of winter hibernation, on average, 8 days earlier.  femaleHow does spring advancement affect the ecosystem?Well, let’s take the mountain pygmy possum of Australia as an example.

  It is emerging from hibernation before itsprey. As a result, many die of starvation. In the past two decades, there havebeen more than 160 species extinctions due to climate change.  These have happened mainly in CentralAmerica. For example, the golden toad and the Monteverde harlequin frog are nolonger with us.malePlants are being affected too. The Haleakala silverswordis only found on one Hawaiian mountain top. But shifting weather patterns havemade the mountain too dry and too warm for new seedlings to grow.

The olderplants are dying off but not being replaced. The forests of North America are being attacked by beetles who are nowable to survive much further north due to warming temperatures.  This has happened near Radium Hot Springs inCanada, where the pine trees have been killed by pine beetles.  Large areas of forest in Australia, Russiaand France are losing trees, either through drought or high temperatures.

   femaleThe Asian tiger mosquito is now found in severalsouthern European countries and is likely to travel further north.  When species travel out of their climate zonethey cause problems, as they have to find a new food source. We refer to thesemigratory animals as invasive species. Examplesinclude the European green crab and the Japanese ghost shrimp, who are movingfurther north and disrupting the food chain in their new locations.maleIt’s not just individual plant and animal speciesthat will be affected by climate change.

On a larger scale, whole biomes willbe affected. Remember, a biome is a large community of plants and animals thatshare an environment and climate. It’s the northern latitudes that are beingmost affected. Climatologists predict that the northern coniferous forests willeventually occupy the area that is now the frozen tundra.

They also say thatthe hot desert areas will become much larger, with the savanna areas extendinginto the current Mediterranean biome.  As things shift northwards, the UK may wellbecome more like southern Spain – great if you want a holiday, but not so goodfor water supply and agriculture.


I'm Gerard!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out