Chapter

Impacts of climate change in the Greater Cape Floristic Region

Res Altwegg, Adam West, Lindsey Gillson and Guy F. Midgley

in Fynbos

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199679584
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191791949 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679584.003.0013
Impacts of climate change in the Greater Cape Floristic Region

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Climate is an important driver of biodiversity in the GCFR and the region is thus potentially vulnerable to climate change. The climate in the region has warmed over the last century, but there has been no clear trend in rainfall. Further warming and moderate drying are predicted for the region. The GCFR has been extensively used as test case for modelling climate change impacts on biodiversity at the biome and species level. Most studies project range contractions and species losses. Experiments on plants have revealed highly species-specific responses to changes in temperature and drought, as well as limited direct effects of elevated CO2. Together with a complex topography, microclimate and the importance of additional drivers of biodiversity change such as fire and land use, these experiments suggest that biodiversity in the GCFR will react to climate change in complex ways. So far, few empirical tests of the abundant projections have been attempted, which is identified as a key knowledge gap. Biodiversity in the GCFR underpins a number of ecosystem services that support the livelihoods of a large part of the human population. Projected climate change has the potential to negatively affect biodiversity and water availability, with potential impacts on the ecotourism and agricultural sectors.

Keywords: livelihood; modelling climate change; biodiversity; ecotourism; water availability

Chapter.  15397 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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