Scientists say efforts to curb climate change must consider effects on biodiversity

two pale mandibled aracari birds in Guatemala

Fighting climate change. Curbing the extinction crisis. Both are essential initiatives to maintaining a healthy planet, yet without careful planning, climate change mitigation and adaptation actions could undermine the species and ecosystem services – from freshwater provision to crop pollination – upon which human societies rely.

This is the subject of a new CI-led paper, published today in the science journal Conservation Letters. Collaborating with four other scientists, Will Turner and David Hole of CI’s Science + Knowledge division were lead author and co-author, respectively.

The paper, titled “Climate change: helping nature survive the human response,” examines past and present examples of how human actions to combat and adapt to climate change have led to unintended consequences for ecosystems and species. In just one example, the expansion of the biofuel industry in Indonesia and Malaysia has caused significant forest clearing and biodiversity loss.

The authors suggest that climate mitigation and adaptation efforts must include regulations in their framework that protect biodiversity. One recent example of this occurred when REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) became REDD+ (with the “plus” indicating conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks). This addition applied safeguards to the REDD framework to prevent unintended harmful impacts on the environment. The authors recommend that the system must extend beyond forests to include a whole spectrum of mitigation and adaptation actions, from biofuels to seawalls to agricultural expansion to emergency migration.

In its conclusion, the paper emphasizes the key roles natural ecosystems can – and must – play in global climate change efforts. “Maintaining natural habitats, both in parks and working landscapes, is one of the most cost-effective and readily available approaches for mitigating climate change and facilitating human adaptation. Limiting the losses of biodiversity from climate change mitigation and adaptation actions will be critical to maintaining the ecological services upon which we and all other species depend.”


  1. SID says

    It is true that both the causes are essential factors of our survival and fighting climate changing is must and i hope proper guidance is there ahead so that this doesn’t interrupt other Eco-systems. Thanks for this informative article.

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