Given predicted increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, temperature is expected to increase by between 1.4 and 5.8 °C from 1990 levels by the year 2100 (IPCC, 2001). The effects of such increases can be expected to be profound, through a melting of glaciers and ice caps and the consequent raising of sea level, and more generally through large-scale changes to the global climate. Alterations to temperature, and other aspects of climate, provide a shifting physicochemical template upon which species' niches will be superimposed in future. In other words, nature reserves already
Figure 7.28 The southern emu-wren metapopulation, showing the size and location of patches and corridors. For further details, see text. (After Westphal et al., 2003.)
set up for key species may be in the wrong places and species currently appropriate for restoration projects may no longer succeed. Moreover, each region of the world is likely to be subject to a new set of invaders, pests and diseases.
Political approaches to the mitigation of climate change focus on international efforts to reduce emissions and to augment ecological sinks (e.g. by increasing the amount of the world's surface that is forest). We deal with these aspects in Chapter 22. Here we focus on predicting the effects of climate change on the spread of diseases and other invasive species (Section 7.6.1) and deciding where to locate nature reserves in a changing world (Section 7.6.2).
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