Nav: Home

Climate change in Quebec equals a much greater diversity of species???

May 16, 2018

A team of researchers believe that, paradoxically, climate change may result in Quebec's national and provincial parks becoming biodiversity refuges of continental importance as the variety of species present there increases. They used ecological niche modeling to calculate potential changes in the presence of 529 species in about 1/3 of the protected areas in southern Quebec almost all of which were under 50 km2 in size. Their results suggest that fifty - eighty years from now (between 2071-2100) close to half of the protected regions of southern Quebec may see a species turnover of greater than 80 %.

The research team, from l'Université du Québec à Rimouski, le Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, and McGill University believe that, depending on the region, the gain in the number of species of birds, amphibians, trees, and vascular flowering plants could range from 12 and 530 %. It is the first study to examine in such details the potential effects of climate change on the biodiversity of a large network of northern protected areas.

A need to rethink conservation paradigms?

The researchers believe that the scale and rapidity of the species turnover will also result in a necessary reexamination of current conservation paradigms, since it will be impossible to preserve a snapshot of today's biodiversity in the National Parks. More specifically, the researchers believe that:

1) Rather than trying to preserve current biodiversity in the National Parks, a more effective conservation strategy to ensure future biodiversity may be to preserve site resilience and a diversity of physical features and conditions.

2) There will potentially be complicated choices ahead for managers of protected areas as increasing numbers of new immigrant species colonize protected sites. If historical communities are deeply modified, the managers may need self-sustaining populations of non-native species in some protected areas. But newly arriving species may also have negative impacts on ecosystem structure and function.

3) Assigning conservation status to rare and recently naturalized species may prove a thorny issue, given that a significant portion of northern species are already at risk. But the conservation value of rare new species should be considered in a long-term continental perspective rather than short-term national perspective.

4) It will be important to preserve and restore connectivity of protected areas to allow potential corridors for migration. In this way, species will avoid being trapped for decades or centuries between rapid retreat from the territory's southern edge and only a slow advance on the northern edge.

The researchers caution, however, that potential species gains should not draw attention away from the potential extinction of local species that may no longer find suitable conditions in future in the protected areas where they are at the moment. The geographical pattern of potential relative species loss suggests that several species could disappear in both the southernmost protected areas of Quebec, and in the higher latitudes, where the extinction of only a few local species can have drastic effects on whole ecological communities.
-end-


McGill University

Related Climate Change Articles:

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.
Could climate change cause infertility?
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
Predicting climate change
Thomas Crowther, ETH Zurich identifies long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world.
More Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...