Biodiversity—the variety of life on Earth—provides vital services that support and improve human health and well-being. Ecosystems, which are composed of living things that interact with the physical environment, provide numerous essential benefits to people. These benefits, termed ecosystem services, encompass four primary functions: provisioning materials, such as food and fiber; regulating critical parts of the environment, such as water quality and erosion control; providing cultural services, such as recreational opportunities and aesthetic value; and providing supporting services, such as nutrient cycling. Climate change poses many threats and potential disruptions to ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as to the ecosystem services on which people depend.
Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity: Key Messages
- Species & Populations
Climate change continues to impact species and populations in significant and observable ways. Terrestrial, freshwater, and marine organisms are responding to climate change by altering individual characteristics, the timing of biological events, and their geographic ranges. Local and global extinctions may occur when climate change outpaces the capacity of species to adapt.
Climate change is altering ecosystem productivity, exacerbating the spread of invasive species, and changing how species interact with each other and with their environment. These changes are reconfiguring ecosystems in unprecedented ways.
- Ecosystem Services
The resources and services that people depend on for their livelihoods, sustenance, protection, and well-being are jeopardized by the impacts of climate change on ecosystems. Fundamental changes in agricultural and fisheries production, the supply of clean water, protection from extreme events, and culturally valuable resources are occurring.
- Natural Resource Management
Traditional natural resource management strategies are increasingly challenged by the impacts of climate change. Adaptation strategies that are flexible, consider interacting impacts of climate and other stressors, and are coordinated across landscape scales are progressing from theory to application. Significant challenges remain to comprehensively incorporate climate adaptation planning into mainstream natural resource management, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented actions.
The “Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity” publication is available as a downloadable PDF at Link to Source…