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Monday, 21 November 2016
Climate change as a threat to biodiversity: An application of the DPSIR approach
Published Date 15 November 2009, Vol.69(1):24–31, doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.01.003 The DPSIR framework for Biodiversity Assessment Author
Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Garnisongasse 7/21, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Received 21 April 2008. Revised 3 January 2009. Accepted 7 January 2009. Available online 5 February 2009. Abstract Climate change and its consequences present one of the most important threats to biodiversity and the functions of ecosystems. The stress on biodiversity is far beyond the levels imposed by the natural global climatic changes occurring in the recent evolutionary past. It includes temperature increases, shifts of climate zones, melting of snow and ice, sea level rise, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events. Natural systems are vulnerable to such changes due to their limited adaptive capacity. Based on an analysis using the DPSIR framework, this paper discusses some of the important socio-economic driving forces of climate change, with a focus on energy use and transportation. The paper also analyses observed and potential changes of climate and the pressures they exert on biodiversity, the changes in biodiversity, the resulting impacts on ecosystem functions, and possible policy responses. The latter can be divided into mitigation and adaptation measures. Both strategies are needed, mitigation in order to stabilise the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and adaptation in order to adjust to changes that have already occurred or cannot be avoided. One mitigation option, increased biofuel production, which is also a response to oil depletion, would change land use patterns and increase human appropriation of net primary production of biomass, thereby threatening biodiversity. By considering the first order and second order impacts of climate change on biodiversity when developing policy measures, it will be possible to integrate ecosystem and biodiversity protection into decision-making processes. Keywords