This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
DEVASTATING floods in South Africa this week — as well as other extreme weather events across the continent linked to human-caused climate change — are putting marine and terrestrial wildlife species at risk, according to biodiversity experts.
Africa has already faced several climate-related woes in the past year: the ongoing fatal floods follow unrelenting cyclones in the south, extreme temperatures in western and northern regions, and a debilitating drought which is currently afflicting eastern, central and the Horn of Africa.
Conservation and wildlife groups say it’s critical to protect species from these climate change-related weather events.
“Climate change is disrupting ecosystems and affecting the survival and suitability of species to live in their usual habitats,” says Shyla Raghav, who heads the climate change division at Conservation International.
“Massive disruption to ecological stability will occur if adequate adaptation and mitigation measures are not implemented.
“There is need to incorporate climate proofing of our protected areas. That way we boost nature’s ability for resilience.”
Multiple species, including Africa’s famed “big five” land animals and other terrestrial and marine life, are vulnerable to significant population loss.
Ornithologist Paul Matiku, who heads the biodiversity watch group Nature Kenya, says shifting rainfall patterns and increased temperatures are having serious consequences for bird populations.
“Climate change causes seasonal variability in rainfall, temperature and food for birds. As such, breeding aborts and bird populations automatically reduce over time,” Mr Matiku said.
“Wetland birds are affected by reducing water levels due to droughts. The Sahara Desert gets hotter, and some migratory birds die along their migratory routes due to high temperatures and dehydration.”
He adds that some birds are so weak from taxing migratory journeys that they are no longer breeding.
Ecosystems that thrive along Africa’s popular white sandy beaches are also particularly vulnerable, according to Ibidun Adelekan, a geography professor at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.
Africa’s coasts are at risk of coral reef ecosystem collapse due to bleaching, potential saltwater intrusion on freshwater aquifers, and more intense tropical cyclones.
Ms Adelekan warns that greater damage to Africa’s coastal biodiversity will also have considerable consequences for populations in towns and cities along its shores.
“Persistent deprivation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by human actions is leading to increased vulnerability of coastal and island communities to climate impacts,” she says.
Her concerns are echoed by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which earlier this year cautioned that African coasts with a “high proportion of informal settlements and small island states are exposed and highly vulnerable to climate change.”
But scientists are hopeful that improved coastal management of marine protected areas and better restrictions on the fishing industry will curb impacts on marine biodiversity.
“Our research indicates that the future of coral reefs will be much better if fisheries restrictions and protected areas are applied effectively throughout the region,” says Tim McClanahan, a senior conservation zoologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, who studied over 100 locations in the western Indian Ocean.
“While climate change may be outside of local control, the bad outcomes will be reduced if fisheries manage to reduce detrimental impacts on the coral reefs.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £10 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.