Deal locally with climate change impact

March 21st, 2011 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 21 (IANS) Think globally, but act locally when studying about plants, animals and the impact of global warming, advise researchers.

Policy makers have been pressing biologists to dissect how much of the changes observed in wild species are due to greenhouse gas-driven climate change versus other possible factors.

But scientists feel efforts should be directed more towards studies on conservation of compromised species rather than trying to figure out what percent of each species’ decline is due to rising greenhouse gases, says a University of Texas statement.

“Yes, global warming is happening… And yes, we’ve clearly shown that species are impacted by global warming on a global scale,” says Camille Parmesan, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas.

But “think… about… how that’s going to affect your national park, or your reserve or your endangered species,” says Parmesan, who led the study. She served as lead author of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore.

“You’ve got to think locally about what you need to do in terms of habitat restoration, removing invasive species, assisting species migration. Those are things you can and should do something about in the short term,” Parmesan says.

The endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly, for example, experiences pressures in Southern California from climate change, but also development, (growth of Los Angeles and San Diego), invasive species and pollution.

For conservation biologists and policy makers, it is critical to understand those local driving forces, so they can make appropriate, and sometimes immediate interventions. Tackling climate change itself is a problem on a different level.

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