Erigeron decumbens

Over 700 Plants and Lichens on the Brink of Extinction Due to Climate Change

The world is heating up, and the consequences are far-reaching. A recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania highlights that 771 plants and lichens, protected under the Endangered Species Act face significant risk. These species, which are mainly found in specific regions, are highly susceptible to even slight changes in precipitation or temperature.

Climate change has a significant impact on plants and lichens, which are often disregarded. These species require specific ecological conditions such as appropriate soil types, moisture levels, and pollinators. The changing temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns disturb these delicate balances, resulting in reduced growth, reproduction, and survival rates. Erigeron decumbens, an endangered species, serves as a clear example of the potential risks.

Amy Casandra Wrobleski’s research team assessed the current conservation plans for endangered species, revealing that only 9% of the plans included measures to address climate change directly. These measures include monitoring, modeling, translocation, and assisted migration. The report points out a significant shortcoming in our conservation efforts, as more than a decade has passed without a proper evaluation of the risks of global warming to these plants.

Climate change is not just a human problem; it’s a universal crisis. As Ms. Wrobleski, a doctoral student in ecology, puts it, “Climate change will impact not only an individual species but their network of relationships in ways that can be unpredictable and lead to cascading effects in the entirety of the ecosystem.

Our planet is now 1.1°C hotter than before the Industrial Revolution, and scientists warn that we could hit the 1.5°C mark this decade. This isn’t just a statistic but rather a critical threshold that could intensify the global effects we’re currently experiencing.

The study concludes that recognizing climate change as a threat is just the beginning. What we need now are direct, focused actions to ensure recovery. As conditions continue to shift over the next century, clear objectives will become vital for successful species recovery.

The researchers suggest that climate change should be incorporated into recovery planning. Listing rules should consider the current and future impacts of climate change on the species’ status and viability. Conservation practitioners should use tools such as vulnerability assessments, scenario planning, decision support systems, and climate-smart guidelines to design and implement effective conservation strategies.

Avinash Asokan

Avinash Asokan is a nature enthusiast and writer with a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology. He has always been fascinated by the beauty and intricacies of nature, and this led him to pursue a career in writing about it. Avinash believes that nature holds the key to a fulfilling life and that it is important to preserve our natural environment for generations to come. His passion for exploring the great outdoors and learning about the wonders of the world is reflected in his writing.

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