The Truth is Powerful
Many New Zealand species are already at risk because of predators and habitat loss. Climate change makes things worse
Islands are biodiversity hotspots. They are home to 20% of the world’s plants and animals yet cover only 5% of the global landmass. But island ecosystems are highly vulnerable, threatened by habitat fragmentation and introduced invasive weeds and predators.
Climate change adds to all these stresses. In our recent paper , we use Aotearoa New Zealand as a case study to show how climate change accelerates biodiversity decline on islands by exacerbating existing conservation threats. Many native birds are threatened by introduced predators such as rats, possums and cats. Aotearoa is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots , with 80% of vascular plants, 81% of arthropods and 60% of land vertebrate animals found nowhere else.
Its evolutionary history is dominated by birds . Before the arrival of people, the only native land mammals were bats. But now, introduced predators threaten the survival of many species. Complex interplay between many threats
Conservation efforts have rightly concentrated on the eradication of introduced predators, with world-leading success in the eradication of rats in particular.
Potential climate change impacts have been mostly ignored. Successive assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ) highlight the lack of information for Aotearoa. This could be due […]