Extinction risk from climate change

Thomas, Chris D., Cameron, Alison, Green, Rhys E., Bakkenes, Michel, Beaumont, Linda J., Collingham, Yvonne C., Erasmus, Barend F.N., Ferreira de Siqueira, Marinez, Grainger, Alan, Hannah, Lee, Hughes, Lesley, Huntley, Brian, van Jaarsveld, Albert S., Midgley, Guy F., Miles, Lera, Ortega-Huerta, Miguel A., Peterson, A. Townsend, Phillips, Oliver L., and Williams, Stephen E. (2004) Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427 (6970). pp. 145-148.

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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature02121

Abstract

Climate change over the past ~30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundance of species and has been implicated in one species-level extinction. Using projections of species distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a powerlaw relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37% of species in our sample regions and taxa will be 'committed to extinction'. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction (~18%) than mid-range (~24%) and maximum-change (~35%)scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.

Item ID: 1647
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: extinction risk, climate change, geographic range
ISSN: 0028-0836
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2060
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