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Published April 18, 2012 06:46 AM

Climate change making conservation more costly

Climate change will make conserving the world’s biodiversity — including the human benefits associated with conservation, such as clean air and water — much more challenging and expensive, research reveals.

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According to a group of international researchers convened by Conservation International, climate change may in some cases drive up costs by more than 100%.

Focussing on species and ecosystems in South Africa, Madagascar and California, the researchers present the first ever estimates of how much it will cost the global community to adapt conservation efforts to climate change, calling the studies a 'wake-up call'.

The results of the research have been published as a series of three papers in the journal Conservation Biology, under the title 'Conservation Focus: Costs of Adapting Conservation to Climate Change'.

In California, the researchers picked 11 species, including the Bay checkerspot butterfly, the grasshopper sparrow and the San Joaquin kit fox, all of which occur within a conservation area in the Central Coast of California. They then projected the costs of conserving these species in 2050 and 2100 under realistic climate change scenarios.

The results of the study showed that under climate change, the boundaries of the California conservation area will need to be dramatically expanded and many of the species studied will need interventions such as captive breeding and relocation to achieve current conservation goals.

According to the researchers, the costs of meeting conservation goals for the 11 species studied will be close to 150% higher than if there is no climate change by 2050, and could be up to 220% more by 2100 — at a cost of $2.63 billion.

San Joaquin Fox vixen, courtesy explow.

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