Effects of Climate Change on Biodiversity in the USA

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Effectsof Climate Change on Biodiversity in the USA:

Effectsof Climate Change on Biodiversity in the USA:

Resourcessuch as sun, rain, and wind are delivered by the environment. Hazardssuch as drought, hurricanes, and blizzards are also provided by theatmosphere to the societies and ecosystem (Hinckley, 2013). Theecosystem and communities are fashioned to adapt to these climaticchanges. However, some climatic changes are extreme, making itdifficult for organisms to survive in such environments. Thevulnerability in weather and climate patterns can be differentiated.The central concern in the changes is the rise of temperaturesbecause of the alteration of the climate due to the use of fossilfuels. Carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels increasesatmospheric temperature through the greenhouse effect (Russell etal., 2012). Therefore, understanding the consequences of theseclimate changes to the biodiversity and especially on wildlife willenable us to come up with solutions of minimizing the rise in theearth`s temperature and also devise ways of adapting to climatechanges.


Thehistory of life on earth shows that climate has never been stable.The recent periods indicate that in the globe some places are warmerthan others (Deser et al., 2012). The prehistoric climate changeswere due to natural causes and occurred on a planet with societiesthat were primitive, of smaller populations and occupied by differentanimal species. However, the changes in climate are notably differentfrom the experiences we have had. From the green forests of UnitedStates, through the corals and ocean depth, to the hot deserts, theearth is marveled with various landscapes, colors, materials andtexture. The seas, land, and air are homes to the largest animals andthe tiniest insects making up a tapestry of forces that areinterdependent. Biodiversity consists of diverse lives of the earth.It is inclusive of all species, populations, and organisms.Biodiversity also includes the variation in genetics among thespecies and the complex relationships among the ecosystem andcommunities and how they interact with the environment (Mace, Norris&amp Fitter, 2012).

Climateand climate change

Climateis associated with the weather patterns of an area and is differentfrom time to time with various seasons, for instance, an area isrelated to it being dry and warm during the summer months. On theother hand, the place might be wet and chilly during winter.Therefore different areas have different climates. When we combinethe climate of various locations in the world, we get the earth`satmosphere (Lovejoy, 2013). Hence, climate change is the rise of theearth`s temperature and these small modifications to the earth`stemperature have big effects on the biodiversity and wildlife in theworld. For instance, the changes in temperature have caused oceanlevels to rise, snow in other areas to melt and also some changes onhow some individual plants grow. The earth`s climate change is due tothe use of fossil fuels by humans these fuels release greenhousegasses such as carbon dioxide which trap heat in the atmospherecausing a range of effects to the biodiversity and ecosystem (Hansen,Sato &amp Ruedy, 2012).

Effectsof climate change on biodiversity

Consequencesof climate change on vegetation

Thechange on the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has a significantimpact on vegetation. Latitude, carbon dioxide, and soil texture arethe primary inputs that affect the health of plants. However, therise in temperature has a causative effect on vegetation. Forinstance the global tree line is extending to the north which issqueezing the tundra. Also, the southern latitudes have becomesensitive to famine and drought which has a significant impact onanthropogenic exploitation and the tropical forests. Depletion ofvegetation cover due to climate change has significantly affected theuse of land. Farming has considerably been affected since the soilhas no natural nutrients, due to the lack of vegetation which plays amajor role in fertilizing the land. The increase in temperature hasalso brought about a decrease in precipitation because vegetationcover plays a crucial role in the hydrological cycle (Elmendorf etal., 2012). These changes affect people and wildlife since theecosystem provides various services such as food, flood prevention,water storage, and tourism. Therefore, assessing the changes inclimate and their effects on vegetation is important since it enablesus to know potential harms and venture into sustainable management.

Consequencesof climate change on biodiversity adaptive responses

Climatechange has a great impact on the adaptive responses of thebiodiversity. The biome area change together with vegetation changeis causing variations in the richness of species, for instance, thewild animals. Various wild animals are faithful to their biome, whichis the representative for the climatic envelope of different speciesthat inhabit the earth. The change in the biome is caused by shiftsin the weather which sometimes become a challenge for the species tomove to new areas because of the limitation in migration. Theadaptive response to new biome depends on the area the animals areused to, and therefore, species that are used to cold areas have achallenge adapting to warm areas (Intergovernmental Panel on climatechange, 2014). For example, the American bison moves from the USA toMexico in search of a particular kind of native grass and water.Hence, for the wild animals to successfully adapt to a new biome theyhave to move to a biome that is almost similar to what they are usedto and if this does not happen some of them will become extinct.

Effectsof climate change on the wildlife and habitat fragmentation

Differentwild animals and other species modify their distribution due toclimatic fluctuations. Various species show some level of success inshifting in fragmented landscapes in responses to climate changes.Moreover, some species increase their range of migration but withdispersal rates that are low. The direction and speed of thedispersal of species are based on the availability of a habitat,population growth and density, distance, and location of the species.The availability of habitat changes with climate fluctuations. Therequirement of habitats by these species also depends on climatechange. The distribution of species also depends on and theavailability of the habitat (Oliver et al., 2015). Therefore,biological communities will continue being dominated by a particulartype of species while other species will continue declining due tothe loss of their habitats as a result of climate change.

Effectsof climate change on the Tongass forest biodiversity in the USA

Animalsinhabit an area because of their tolerance to the conditions in thatenvironment, especially the climate found in that place and theirdispersal history. Climate changes in high latitudes affect the wildanimals in those areas immensely. The impact felt is mostly due tolack of information and detailed knowledge on the distribution of thebiodiversity and also, the degree of warming in these areas(Valledares et al., 2014). The Tongass forest is known to hold a hugeproportion of the biodiversity and wild animals such as the wolvesand sea lions. However, the plans of conservation do not consider theeffects of climate change. The biodiversity in the Tongass regionincludes a range of different plants and animals which have differentresponses to changes in climate (Bustamante et al., 2016). Plantspecies in the region do not have an absolute tolerance to theextreme weather changes, and therefore their distribution is limitedby the dispersal barriers.

Effectsof climate change on the biodiversity in the Tropical East forests

Theland in the tropical east support about 25% of the world`s biologicaldiversity and a human society of about half a billion. The region waswell forested, and the distribution of wild animals and plant was dueto the temperatures and rain. However, the limitation of models thatcan predict inter-annual variability in patterns of rain and limitedinformation on the environment and species relationship has made itdifficult to predict effects of changes in climate conditions on thebiodiversity. Therefore, this has led to montane endemics loss due tothe high-temperature tolerance, reduction in cloud water and themigration of important wild animals (Xu &amp Grumbine, 2014). Thechange in rainfall patterns has brought about the vulnerability ofadaptation to species in the forest. Changes on the coverage level ofthe forest due to forest degradation and deforestation have led tothe increase of dry periods. The changes will result in more harm onthe biodiversity in tropical East forests (Laurance et al., 2014).

Effectsof climate change on the survival and success of species that areinvasive

Climatechange and biological invasions are the major environmental problemsencountered in the world. Biological invasions have a significanteffect on the functioning and structure of the ecosystem and how wellthey respond to climate changes together with the services theecosystem provides. The success or failure of invasive speciesdepends on climate change. The success of invasive species isdependent on climate change because a change that is rapid favorsthese species as they can tolerate a broad range of climate changeand extend their range. These characteristics are shared by someinvasive plant species found in the globe. Hence, as the invasivespecies shift their range, the habitat compositions also change asthey respond to the climate fluctuations. Some invasive species areknown to have a more competitive success compared to others becausethey tend to be generalists, which increases their chance ofachievement and threaten some species that are native(Moran et al.,2014). Therefore, invasive species have a relationship with climatechange because their abundance is influenced indirectly by climateand directly by the availability of resources.

Effectsof climate change on fisheries

Fisheriesare determining the mortality for fish, once the fish are old enoughto be caught. The decline in the numbers of fish in the marine is dueto fishing. However, fluctuations in climatic conditions have alsoled to the shifts in the distribution of the species. Moreover,fisheries and change in climate have interacted resulting in a highrisk in the decline of the population below a level where the supportof the fisheries is impossible. The demography of the fish differsfrom the fresh water fish to that of the terrestrial vertebrates. Thefish have fewer boundaries of migration in the sea hence fewerconstraints to shifts. However, there is a possible loss of diversityof genes of the fish which will lead to the reduction in the abilityto adapt to climate fluctuations (Barange et al., 2014). The changeswill give rise to a decline in the population of fish, because of thecorrelation between climate change and fish distribution whichreduces the life expectancy of the fish.

Effectsof climate change on landscapes

Therecent modifications in the global temperatures have a profoundeffect on the biological and physical systems. One of the primarydrivers of the composition of habitats for the species, theirdistribution and the ecosystem found in the landscape is climatechange. Scenes are used for the various purposes such associo-economic purposes which are subject to both anthropogenic andnatural pressures. The agroecosystem is vulnerable to variations inthe environment caused by climate change. The effects are felt by thebiodiversity and also agriculture this has an impact on thedistribution and survival of various species. Furthermore,agriculture has been affected by the changes in the climate.Seasonalrains are becoming harder to predict and too much sunshine affectingthe crops (Selwood, McGeoch,&amp Mac Nally, 2015). Policies onnature conservation need to adopt a dynamic approach that willaccommodate the fluctuations in climate. Also, there is need toadjust the distribution of species in different habitats across thelandscape.

Effectsof climate change on mangrove ecosystem and the rise in sea level

Mangroveforests are habitats of the tropical and grow in the shorelines.There is a decline in mangrove ecosystem diversity from east to westacross the Pacific to the American Samoa. The Atlantic Mangroveecosystem is also declining due to the increase in altitude levelsaway from the equator. The rise in sea level is a threat to thesurvival of mangroves because of inundation stress, sediment erosion,and an increase in saline at the landward zones. The challenges posedthreaten the survival of mangroves because they are subjected to asqueeze as the coastal land is invaded by human developments (Spenceret al., 2016). However, an increase in atmospheric temperatures andatmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations enhances the productivityof mangroves, expand the territories covered by mangrove forests andchange the phenological patterns. Mangroves are known to provideproducts to the human societies and also other services to theecosystem (Alongi, 2015). Therefore, Mangrove forests depend on theelevation of the sea at their margins and climate changes willdetermine their survival.

Effectsof climate change on ocean processes

Therapid rise in global temperatures has a causative effect on oceanprocesses. The heat on the surface of the sea continues to increasewith the growth in the world`s temperatures. The rise is attributedto the increase in greenhouse emissions. The increase has a negativeeffect on the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation and thenorthern latitudes, which play the main role in the world`s conveyorbelt. The effects of these temperatures are already being experiencedbecause of the ocean temperatures, especially in the easternAtlantic, have a high correlation with the temperatures in thenorthern hemisphere. Moreover, there is an increase in the primaryproduction of chlorophyll in the broad belt of the North Atlantic,for instance, the shelf seas of North America. The eastern Atlantichas seen a rise in the benthos due to the plankton`s sedimentation.Therefore, climate change has caused a shift in the physical,biological, and chemical characteristics of the sea processes(Marshall et al., 2014).


Probable,accelerated, and unprecedented shifts in climate will continue facingthe earth if no mitigating mechanisms are put in place. The changeshave a powerful influence on the societies and ecosystem and willcontinue introducing new challenges as time goes by. Given that thebiodiversity is already reacting to these changes, there is a needfor solutions due to the enormous costs associated withmodifications. Therefore, mitigation measures are required so as toreduce greenhouse gases and especially the carbon dioxideemissions(Edenhofer et al., 2014). The mitigation measures willenable us to establish atmospheric concentrations which areacceptable and will sustain both the ecosystem and the humans. Theuse of fuels that are environmentally friendly will help us reducethe rise in temperatures on earth, making it easier to adapt. Alsocoming up with ways of adapting to the changes in the climate willenable the ecosystem, and human societies to survive. Coming up withpolicy measures that will ensure people take the initiative to adevelopment that is sustainable will enable us to reduce globalwarming.

Focusingon the risks associated with climate change will allow us to come upwith sound policies for instance, there is need to understand thecurrent level of risk the world is exposed to. We then identify thekey drivers to these risks. There is need to know how the driverschange over time and define the ways to mitigate them. With such ananalysis we will be able to have more information on biodiversity,climate change, what needs to be done or stopped, the limitations andadvantages associated with the climate change. Through the proactivemanagement of the cause of climate change, we will be able to live inan environment that is friendly and sustainable (Intergovernmentalpanel on climate change, 2015). The journey to a better world startswith every one of us. Therefore, the involvement of the localcommunity, institutions of learning, decision makers, and the wholeworld in understanding the need for sustainable development isnecessary. It will lead to a better adaptability to the changesaround the world.

Inconclusion, if no changes happen to the way of life of humans, thenthe rise in temperatures will continue. More ice and snow will melt,and ocean levels will keep rising. Some areas will become hotterwhile other places will experience colder winters with more ice andsnow. Other areas will experience more rain compared to others whichwill experience less rain. Therefore, there is a need to controlclimate changes this can be done by understanding the earth`sclimate. Different countries in the world should ensure theircitizens are conversant with what climate change is all about becausethe more individuals learn about the world, the more they can usemechanisms that reduce climate change. For instance, use lessenergy, less water or even using sources of fuel that is moreclimatic friendly will minimize the rise in temperatures. The act ofreducing emissions from fossil fuels is way less expensive thanhaving to deal with the consequences of the increase in temperatures.


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