Driven to Extinction: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Driven to Extinction: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0565092995

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Could more than a million species disappear in the 21st century? Drawing upon a wide range of illuminating case studies from around the world, Driven to Extinction provides a balanced and highly readable insight into the potential impacts of climate change on the diversity of life. Richard Pearson meticulously assembles the evidence of how species of plants and animals have reacted to temperature changes in the past, and how they are likely to respond in the future. He shows how different species are interconnected, how subtle yet essential those connections can be, and how severing one link in the complex chain of mutual cooperation and dependency can lead to the breakdown of a once-thriving community and, ultimately, extinction. At the same time, he also explores how climate change can offer some species new opportunities even as it narrows prospects for others, highlighting the adaptability and survival techniques of some of the weirdest and most wonderful creatures on the planet. Exposing successes and flaws in current research, Driven to Extinction is an engaging and unbiased overview of what scientists know - and don't know - about the impacts of climate change.
















elsewhere has been caused by a combination of two principal factors: first, strong El Niño–La Niña events, and, second, a rising baseline of ocean temperatures that is linked with climate change. So bleaching occurs when El Niño–La Niña cycles bring peaks in ocean temperatures, but these peaks are overlaid on a general trend toward rising average temperatures, meaning that each time a peak occurs, it has a tendency to push temperatures a little higher than before. So once again, we find that

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Major Economies Forum that the economic costs of failing to tackle climate change could be “greater than the losses caused by two world wars and the Great Depression.”12 World leaders have consequently joined environmental pressure groups and the media in spreading a message of climate change doom and calamity. This message is especially apparent in some of the documentary-style feature films that have addressed the issue. Most famously, Al Gore’s An

than 100,000 strains of rice in a cryogenic gene bank, providing a resource that may be invaluable for adapting one of the world’s most important cereal grains to climate change.21 So, ex-situ conservation provides some vital opportunities. However, the strategy also suffers from some important limitations. Cost is one major consideration. Plant seeds are relatively cheap to collect and store, meaning that a significant portion of global plant diversity can be gathered together, as proven by the

mountain. Nature, 398:611–615. Pounds, J. A., M. R. Bustamante, L. A. Coloma, et al. (2006) Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming. Nature, 439:161–167. Prentice, I. C., A. Bondeau, W. Cramer, et al. (2007) Dynamic global vegetation modeling: quantifying terrestrial ecosystem responses to large-scale environmental change. Pages 175–192 in J. G. Canadell et al., editors, Terrestrial Ecosystems in a Changing World. Springer. Raup, D. (1991) Extinction:

over two centuries: an analysis of the Marsham phenological record, 1736–1947. Journal of Ecology, 83:321–329. Sterling, E. J., M. M. Hurley & L. D. Minh. (2006) Vietnam: A Natural History. Yale University Press. Sterling, I., N. J. Lunn & J. Iacozza. (1999) Long-term trends in the population ecology of polar bears in western Hudson Bay in relation to climatic change. Arctic, 52:294–306. Stern, N. (2007) The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review. Cambridge University Press. Stuart, S.

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