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Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions

Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions
Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions
The rapid anthropogenic climate change that is being experienced in the early twenty-first century is intimately entwined with the health and functioning of the biosphere. Climate change is impacting ecosystems through changes in mean conditions and in climate variability, coupled with other associated changes such as increased ocean acidification and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. It also interacts with other pressures on ecosystems, including degradation, defaunation and fragmentation. There is a need to understand the ecological dynamics of these climate impacts, to identify hotspots of vulnerability and resilience and to identify management interventions that may assist biosphere resilience to climate change. At the same time, ecosystems can also assist in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. The mechanisms, potential and limits of such nature-based solutions to climate change need to be explored and quantified. This paper introduces a thematic issue dedicated to the interaction between climate change and the biosphere. It explores novel perspectives on how ecosystems respond to climate change, how ecosystem resilience can be enhanced and how ecosystems can assist in addressing the challenge of a changing climate. It draws on a Royal Society-National Academy of Sciences Forum held in Washington DC in November 2018, where these themes and issues were discussed. We conclude by identifying some priorities for academic research and practical implementation, in order to maximize the potential for maintaining a diverse, resilient and well-functioning biosphere under the challenging conditions of the twenty-first century.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions’.
Adaptation, Biosphere, Climate change impacts, Mitigation, Nature-based solutions, Resilience
0962-8436
1-8
Malhi, Yadvinder
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Franklin, Janet
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Seddon, Nathalie
ca2d6393-20cc-4905-9867-e8ac83edd51a
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf
Turner, Monica G.
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Field, Christopher B.
f6654f44-f488-4e5e-8507-b170468b8b25
Knowlton, Nancy
afede6a4-5497-4c73-8656-ff949b3c16b8
Malhi, Yadvinder
5b0b372b-4a85-4018-9559-903c2bbbe15d
Franklin, Janet
35b241a1-da31-4fe1-8a1c-6fe6f7221473
Seddon, Nathalie
ca2d6393-20cc-4905-9867-e8ac83edd51a
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf
Turner, Monica G.
9071ec3d-38f1-4f25-89c8-c62dfe6ec5d9
Field, Christopher B.
f6654f44-f488-4e5e-8507-b170468b8b25
Knowlton, Nancy
afede6a4-5497-4c73-8656-ff949b3c16b8

Malhi, Yadvinder, Franklin, Janet, Seddon, Nathalie, Solan, Martin, Turner, Monica G., Field, Christopher B. and Knowlton, Nancy (2020) Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 375 (1794), 1-8, [20190104]. (doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0104).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The rapid anthropogenic climate change that is being experienced in the early twenty-first century is intimately entwined with the health and functioning of the biosphere. Climate change is impacting ecosystems through changes in mean conditions and in climate variability, coupled with other associated changes such as increased ocean acidification and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. It also interacts with other pressures on ecosystems, including degradation, defaunation and fragmentation. There is a need to understand the ecological dynamics of these climate impacts, to identify hotspots of vulnerability and resilience and to identify management interventions that may assist biosphere resilience to climate change. At the same time, ecosystems can also assist in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. The mechanisms, potential and limits of such nature-based solutions to climate change need to be explored and quantified. This paper introduces a thematic issue dedicated to the interaction between climate change and the biosphere. It explores novel perspectives on how ecosystems respond to climate change, how ecosystem resilience can be enhanced and how ecosystems can assist in addressing the challenge of a changing climate. It draws on a Royal Society-National Academy of Sciences Forum held in Washington DC in November 2018, where these themes and issues were discussed. We conclude by identifying some priorities for academic research and practical implementation, in order to maximize the potential for maintaining a diverse, resilient and well-functioning biosphere under the challenging conditions of the twenty-first century.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions’.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 December 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 January 2020
Published date: 16 March 2020
Keywords: Adaptation, Biosphere, Climate change impacts, Mitigation, Nature-based solutions, Resilience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439522
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439522
ISSN: 0962-8436
PURE UUID: b3380f20-b142-47cf-bd7c-0a814aa51176
ORCID for Martin Solan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9924-5574

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Date deposited: 24 Apr 2020 16:44
Last modified: 04 Mar 2021 02:40

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