Even after climate change peaks, biodiversity may struggle

Researchers found that grasslands could replace forests in the Amazon even after rising temperatures associated with climate change peak. Credit: Anna and Michal

Even if global temperatures begin to decline after peaking this century because of climate change, the risks to biodiversity could persist for decades after, researchers found. In a study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, biologists modeled the potential impacts on global biodiversity if temperatures increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius before declining.

They found many species will continue to experience unsafe conditions for decades even after the peak. Tropical species were the most affected. In many regions, over 90% of species would be pushed outside of their thermal niches. The Amazon could see forests replaced with grasslands and the loss of an important carbon sink.

Read the study here.