Climate change causes species to change habitats
climate change is forcing plants and animals away from their native habitats to more congenial ones. A recent survey of plants in the uk found that species favouring higher temperature like orchids and ferns that used to be found in southern parts of the country are now flourishing in the north, too. Changes have been observed in populations and distribution of as many as one-third of all species since 1987, says the survey carried out by Plantlife International, a uk- based conservation organisation and the Botanical Society of British Isles.
Climate change such as warming up of atmosphere affects habitat (see table: Eco-effects), forcing plants and animals to disperse and migrate. But if a physical barrier prevents movement, then species could die out. "We are going to see a lot of extinctions, particularly of species that are not able to move quickly enough,' says Katherine Stewart of Plantlife International.
Hardest hit Climate change has hit insects (like butterflies) and birds the hardest. Migratory birds that cover large distances have been unable to cope. The breeding period of birds usually synchronises with a time when food is available in plenty. But climate change has thrown this system out of gear. According to a study conducted at the Groningen University in the Netherlands, climate change has led to food shortages during the breeding period of several species, causing their populations to decline (Nature, Vol 411, No 6835, May 17, 2001).
The State of
uk 's Birds 2004
released last year (see