Scientists warn of the "alarming" lag between man-driven changes of seasons and changes in animal behavior.
The speed of climate disruption is outpacing the adaptive capacity of many animals, according to a study warning of a growing threat to even common species such as sparrows, magpies and deer.
The scientists behind the research described the results as alarming because they showed a dangerous lag between a human-driven change in the seasons and behavioral changes in the natural world.
Previous academic work has shown that species respond to warmer temperatures at an earlier time of biological events, for example, egg laying by birds, plant budding, and insect flight. The new metastudy, published in Nature Research, examines how effective this is in terms of reproduction and survival.
Based on 10,090 abstracts and data drawn from 71 published studies, he found a clear lag in most of the species studied and none could be considered safe. "The probability that none of the species studied is at risk is practically nil," the document states.
The authors said hundreds of thousands of species were not covered by their study, which weighed heavily on birds in the Northern Hemisphere, but said the problems of adaptation to climate change would likely be even greater for other animals already considered. at risk of extinction.
Viktoriia Radchuk, from the Leibniz Institute for Zoos and Wildlife Research in Germany, said: “Personally, I find the results alarming. Species try to adapt to the changing environment, but cannot do so at a sufficient rate to ensure that populations are viable. Climate change has already caused irreversible damage to our biodiversity, as the findings of this study demonstrate. The fact that species are struggling to adapt to the current rate of climate change means that we have to take immediate action to at least stop or slow the rate. "
A similar message was sent to the UK parliament on Tuesday when leading conservation figures warned that the nation's climate infrastructure, which provides fresh water, clean air, carbon sequestration and human well-being, is undermined by the climate crisis. , pollution, urban sprawl and budget cuts.
Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England, which is the government's premier consultative body for conservation, said: “The 21st century will be characterized by whether or not we are successful in tackling these daunting challenges. If we continue as we are, I fear that biodiversity will continue to decline in this country. "
He also told the Environmental Audit Committee that the current system for monitoring and protecting nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest had been undermined by a 60% budget cut in the last 10 years, which had left a skeletal crew stressed. and demoralized.
It was not too late to reverse this, he explained, outlining plans for a "nature recovery network" that would rebuild forests and peatlands, and work with farmers to protect species and restore soil quality, which can reduce carbon dioxide that causes global warming.
"This is the strongest investment we can make in the future of the country," Juniper said. "Unlike other assets, such as roads and bridges, which depreciate over time, it will get more value in the future," he said, citing economists' estimates of a 10 to 100-fold return in terms of better food sequestration. , water and carbon. His views were backed by the head of the Climate Change Committee, John Gummer, who said that it would be impossible for the UK to reach its 'net zero' emissions target by 2050 without investing in protecting and renewing biodiversity.