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Extinction risk from climate change

Thomas, C.D., Cameron, A., Green, R.E., Bakkenes, M., Beaumont, L.J., Collingham, Y.C., Erasmus, B.F.N., Siqueira, M.F. and Grainger, A. (2004) Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427 (6970). pp. 145-148. ISSN 0028-0836

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Climate change over the past approx30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species1, 2 and has been implicated in one species-level extinction3. Using projections of species' distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be 'committed to extinction'. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction (approx18%) than mid-range (approx24%) and maximum-change (approx35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Biology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2009 15:39
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2009 15:39
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature02121
Status: Published
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Identification Number: 10.1038/nature02121
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7048

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