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18 Feb 2016: Scientists Map Which Ecosystems
are the Most Vulnerable to Climate Change

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Vulnerable ecosystems

Seddon et al
Scientists have mapped the world's most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change.
Forests, tundras, and alpine areas are some of the world’s most at-risk ecosystems to climate change, according to a new map published in the journal Nature. The study, led by scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway, used satellite data collected from 2000 to 2013 to examine how sensitive plants were to changes in air temperature, water availability, and cloud cover, down to a two-square-mile scale. The scientists used the results to create the Vegetation Sensitivity Index—a visual guide to plants’ climate responses. The Arctic tundra, parts of Europe and Canada’s boreal forest, tropical rainforests in South America, and eastern Australia all registered as some of the most ecologically sensitive regions in the world to climatic changes. The new index could be a critical tool for scientists and policymakers grasping to understand how global warming will affect biodiversity, food security and general welfare in the coming decades.


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