Heat leaving species homeless!
The results, published in the ''Global Change Biology'' journal, indicate that areas with high temperatures and where average rainfall has decreased over time increase the chance of a species being negatively affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, says a team from University of Queensland.
"Human population growth has caused significant habitat degradation across the globe, typically in support of agriculture and urban development," said team leader Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle.
"This alone has negatively impacted many species, but combined with rises in temperature and reduced rainfall as a result of a changing climate, there could be catastrophic results for some populations. Serious declines are already a reality for many species," she added.
The findings have important implications for conservation of biodiversity under climate change.
"Conservation policy and management strategies that don''t take into account the combined effects of habitat loss and a changing climate may be inefficient and at worst ineffective," Mantyka-Pringle said.
The study suggests the negative effects of interactions between habitat loss and climate on higher order species, such as mammals, reptiles and amphibians are universal. And, the scientists said drastic measures may be needed to preserve the world''s wildlife for future generations.
"In areas where the effects of climate change and its interactions with habitat loss are expected to be severe, our current management approaches may be inadequate," she said.