Climate change is likely to become one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss by the end of the century. Current global warming is already affecting species and ecosystems around the world, particularly the most vulnerable ecosystems such as coral reefs, mountains and polar ecosystems. Furthermore, it has impacts on the ecosystem services on which people’s livelihoods depend, such as rainfall and soil fertility which are essential to agricultural production. Human, animal and plant health are affected through increased transmission of vector-borne diseases.
Ecosystems such as forests, rangelands, croplands, peatlands and wetlands represent globally significant carbon stores. Their conservation, restoration and sustainable use is included as a part of many Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, and is therefore a critical element for the fulfilment of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change, a global commitment toward the mitigation of dangerous changes to the Earth’s atmospheric temperature and climate system.
Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are also an important resource for increasing resilience and reducing the risks and damages associated with negative impacts of climate change. They can serve as natural buffers against extreme climate and weather events such as changing patterns of rainfalls, droughts, storms and other disasters. Diversified and integrated production systems offer more options for adapting to a changing climate. Ecosystem based production systems reduce the reliance on synthetic inputs and the associated emissions of greenhouse gases.
Breeding drought, salt and disease resistant plant varieties, livestock breeds and fish will become important to ensure food security in the advance of climate change.