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Classification of Climate Change-Induced Stresses on Biological Diversity

Conservation actions need to account for and be adapted to address changes that will occur under global climate change. The identification of stresses on biological diversity (as defined in the Convention on Biological Diversity) is key in the process of adaptive conservation management. We considered any impact of climate change on biological diversity a stress because such an effect represents a change (negative or positive) in key ecological attributes of an ecosystem or parts of it. We applied a systemic approach and a hierarchical framework in a comprehensive classification of stresses to biological diversity that are caused directly by global climate change. Through analyses of 20 conservation sites in 7 countries and a review of the literature, we identified climate-change-induced stresses. We grouped the identified stresses according to 3 levels of biological diversity: stresses that affect individuals and populations, stresses that affect biological communities, and stresses that affect ecosystem structure and function. For each stress category, we differentiated 3 hierarchical levels of stress: stress class (thematic grouping with the coarsest resolution, 8); general stresses (thematic groups of specific stresses, 21); and specific stresses (most detailed definition of stresses, 90). We also compiled an overview of effects of climate change on ecosystem services using the categories of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and 2 additional categories. Our classification may be used to identify key climate-change-related stresses to biological diversity and may assist in the development of appropriate conservation strategies. The classification is in list format, but it accounts for relations among climate-change-induced stresses. Keywords: adaptation, conservation, strategies,adaptive management,climatechange,conservation planning, conservation targets, hierarchical framework, threats to biological diversity

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Geyer et al 2011Classification Cons Biol.pdf — PDF document, 474 kB (485741 bytes)

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