Human-induced fragmentation of natural habitats and invasive species remain the dominant threats to biodiversity in New Zealand. However, climate change including warming, sea level rise, more extreme weather events, ocean acidification and changing weather patterns (e.g. changing frequency and/or duration of La Nina and El Nino events) may affect biodiversity and indigenous plant life.
In some cases a changing climate may force some species to move or it may affect their life cycle stages (e.g., flowering and fruiting) or animal pest, diseases and weed species may change their range and abundance.
Native species may not be adversely affected if they are resilient to environmental changes and can respond to them. Ecological monitoring is critical to understanding of potential biodiversity impacts of a changing climate.
Intact, well-connected ecosystems are believed to be more resilient to climate change. The many existing conservation measures aimed at preventing ecosystem damage and fragmentation will also help to limit its impacts.
For more information about climate change see*
- Linkages between Climate Change and Biodiversity in New Zealand. Landcare Research Contract Report LC0102/014 prepared for the Ministry for the Environment by Matt McGlone 2001
- Reports on some implications of climate change to Department of Conservation activities by Bruce McFadgen. DOC, Science and Research Unit.
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