Extinction from Climate Change

Stan Gorodenski stanlep at extremezone.com
Thu Jul 11 14:57:34 EDT 2002

Correction. I used the wrong word: anthropogenically not

Stan Gorodenski wrote:
> I have expressed the opinion before (1996), but not on this list, that
> what I call the 'museum' approach to species conservation puts all the
> eggs in one basket and will not work in the long run because of climate
> change due to global warming. By this I refer to the concept of
> identifying species hot spots and setting up preserves (whether or not a
> species hot spot) with the implied consent to turn everything else into
> pavement, houses, human preferred landscaping which usually means plants
> that are not endemic to an area and do not support insect populations,
> fragmented habitats, etc. Climate change due to global warming, which
> appears to be increasingly recognized as being anthropomorphically
> caused, will result in the species in these preserves going to
> extinction. Because the rate of speciation is considerably slower in an
> environment consisting of pavement, houses, and landscaped environments,
> evolution of new species will then essentially be restricted to these
> preserves. However, the nature of these preserves will probably also
> change. Whereas they may now be habitats of lush vegetation, they may
> become deserts from climate change.
> I just became aware of a documented case of extinction of a butterfly
> population due to climate change. I was not able to access the
> Preceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to read the whole paper,
> but was able to see the abstract which I have copied here:
> Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 99, Issue 9, 6070-6074, April 30, 2002
> Climate change hastens population extinctions
> John F. McLaughlin*,,, Jessica J. Hellmann,§, Carol L. Boggs, and Paul
> R.
> Ehrlich
> * Department of Environmental Sciences, Huxley College of the
> Environment, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9181; §
> Centre for Biodiversity Research, University of British Columbia, 6270
> University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4; and  Center for
> Conservation Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford
> University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020
> Contributed by Paul R. Ehrlich, March 6, 2002
> Climate change is expected to alter the distribution and abundance of
> many species. Predictions of climate-induced population extinctions are
> supported by geographic range shifts that correspond to climatic
> warming, but few xtinctions have been linked mechanistically to climate
> change. Here we show that extinctions of two populations of a
> checkerspot butterfly were hastened
> by increasing variability in precipitation, a phenomenon predicted by
> global climate models. We model checkerspot populations to show that
> changes in precipitation amplified population fluctuations, leading to
> rapid extinctions. As populations of checkerspots and other species
> become further isolated by habitat loss, climate change is likely to
> cause more extinctions,
> threatening both species diversity and critical ecosystem services.
> Stan
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