Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Current Trends

Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Current Trends

Vartika Singh (Amity University Noida, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7387-6.ch008


The chapter illuminates the effect of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also explains the present scenario of biological resources with biological diversity. The author describes the known biological resources and their uses with the help of flow chart and also shows the linkage among them. The author clearly explicates the inter-relationship between human activity, climate change, and biological diversity with charts. In the last section, the author talk about the effect on the paleo climate and impact of climate change on different parts of ecosystem services.
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In the context of subject matter (Impact of Climate change on Biodiversity and Eco-system services), it is imperative to consider broad definitions for (a) Climate Change (b) Biological diversity including biological resources.

Climate Change

In general, Climate change represent a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns and that change persists for an extended period (ex. for decades together). Factors that influence climatic variations are termed as climate forcing or forcing mechanisms which can be both internal (and natural to the climatic system itself) and external.

Of all the forcing mechanisms, the anthropogenic influences on climate change are considered more critical and relevant in the context of environmental policies at both national and global levels (Rabindranath etal., 1998). Anthropogenic climate changes often referred to as “global warming.” The term “global warming” became synonymous with climate change induced by human activity. However, there are intricate differences between global warming and climate change. The former term refers to surface temperature increases while climate change includes global warming and everything else that can be affected by increasing levels of greenhouse gases.

Biological Diversity and Biological Resources

Though these two expressions are used in an inter-mingling fashion, they have visible delineations.

  • Biological Diversity: Precise and widely acceptable definition of biological diversity is provided by the treaty of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as under:

“Biological diversity” means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, among other things, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems(Glowka, 1994).

  • Biological Resources: Any biological entity that has a known or potential application in the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of mankind can be defined as “biological resource” in a broader sense. Further, the term biological resource in this broad definition invariably includes the species as a whole or its parts and genetic material. The CBD treaty defined biological resources as under.

“Biological resources' includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with the actual or potential use or value for humanity (Cardozo & Comp, 2003).

As a matter of fact, this kind of broader definition seeks to encompass the interactions between the human being and the rest of our nature. Nonetheless, it has been customary to consider the biological resource purely from an economic perspective (existing, potential or perceived) only. The following chart attempts to capture well known economic applications of biological diversity- specifically in the context of botanical species.

Figure 1.

Showing the known uses of biological resources

Source: (Bowker, 2000)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Potential Risk: Potential risk refers to any risk associated with an action that is possible, in certain circumstances. A risk refers to a threat or damage that may occur in operations of any work.

Biodiversity: Acclaimed as global importance by the biodiversity, so far the species and habitats carry on under accumulative load from human -made impacts, whether in urban, rural, or wilderness settings.

Ecosystem Services: Ecosystem services are straight or unplanned benefits of natural ecosystem which nourish the human life on the earth and improve the quality of life. Regulation of climate, fresh water, soil biodiversity, genetic resources, and many more are the example of ecosystem services.

Medicinal Plants: Any plant which have medicinal properties or characteristic are called medicinal plant. Some time we use particular part of the plant.

Biological Diversity: Biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth, the product of millions of years of evolution and thousands of years of cultivation of plants and domestication of animals. It is often referred to in abbreviated form as biodiversity. There are many levels of diversity, from DNA and genes to species, populations, communities and ecosystems. Biological diversity is often considered in terms of the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems – three fundamental and hierarchically related levels of biological organization.

Climate Change: Climate change refers to changes in the earth’s climate, especially the gradual rise in temperature caused by high levels of carbon dioxide and other gases.

Anthropogenic Factors: Signify the factor of Anthropogenic is leading the origin regulate of species wilts, endangerment and annihilation: land development, in excess of mistreatment, species translocations and introductions, and greenhouse gasses. Leading the Anthropogenic factor to turn out ecological and genetic effects contributing to extinction risk.

Habitat Fragmentation: It is not only cause of habitat loss but it also makes permanent changes in the small habitat. Geological processes, human activities, climate change and many more natural processes are responsible for habitat fragmentation.

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