Study: Climate change would hit many of world's plants, animals

May 13, 2013 at 6:27 PM
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NORWICH, England, May 13 (UPI) -- Climate change could lead to a dramatic decline in more than half of common plants and one-third of the animals in the world, British researchers warn.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia said an analysis of 50,000 globally widespread and common species said many will lose more than half of their climatic range by 2080 if nothing is done to reduce global warming or at least slow it down.

As the geographic ranges of common plants and animals shrink globally, biodiversity will decline almost everywhere, they said.

"While there has been much research on the effect of climate change on rare and endangered species, little has been known about how an increase in global temperature will affect more common species," East Anglia researcher Rachel Warren said.

"This broader issue of potential range loss in widespread species is a serious concern as even small declines in these species can significantly disrupt ecosystems."

Plants, reptiles and amphibians are expected to be at highest risk, with the greatest species loss expected in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia, the researchers said.

"There will also be a knock-on effect for humans because these species are important for things like water and air purification, flood control, nutrient cycling and eco-tourism," Warren said.

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