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Home » Climate Change (2001) » Level 2 » Question 9
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2013 IPCC Assessment Report on Climate Change

Climate Change 2001 Assessment

9. Can ecosystems adapt to Climate Change?

  • 9.1 Are ecosystems less adaptable now to Climate Change?
  • 9.2 Is the speed of Climate Change detrimental to ecosystems?
  • 9.3 Has man affected the adaptability of ecosystem?
  • 9.4 Which ecosystems would be the most affected?

9.1 Are ecosystems less adaptable now to Climate Change?

Ecosystems might not adapt to climate change as they had done in earlier periods because:

  • the rate of climate change is projected to be faster than in the previous 10 000 years;
  • human activities have altered many ecosystems;
  • pollution has increased.

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9.2 Is the speed of Climate Change detrimental to ecosystems?

Because the temperatures are expected to change faster, plants may be required to migrate to more suitable areas faster than their maximum migrating speed. This would result in:

  • changes in species composition and flora degradation, which may accelerate climate change;
  • a degradation of natural wildlife habitats, which may increase the prevalence of pest species.

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9.3 Has man affected the adaptability of ecosystem?

Humans activities are occupying larger portions of land, resulting in fewer large contiguous ecosystems. Therefore, some species may not be able to effectively migrate to more suitable locations.

Also, many species are already weakened by air pollution. And although the increased CO2 concentration should be beneficial to many plants, its net effect on ecosystem productivity could be limited by other factors. More...

9.4 Which ecosystems would be the most affected?

Higher latitude and coastal ecosystems are most likely to experience the most severe effects from climate change. More...


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