Hundreds of thousands of species face mass extinction, including common birds such as great tits, as climate changes faster than they can adapt, a new study has found.
“These are species that adapt but even they are not adapting fast enough,” Dr Alexandre Courtiol from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research told The Independent.
It’s likely that species even less accustomed to human environments may be struggling even more. I don’t think this picture is going to get much better for birds or mammals.
Sixty-four researchers, led by the Leibniz Institute looked at more than 10,000 scientific studies according to a paper published in Nature Communications.
Out of those, just 58 contained enough information to be included in the study, and the animals looked at – of which there were mostly birds – they were studied for 29 years.
Lead author Viktoriia Radchuk said
Our research focused on birds because complete data on other groups were scarce. We demonstrate that in temperate regions, the rising temperatures are associated with the shift of the timing of biological events to earlier dates.
Dr Stephanie Kramer-Schadt said: “Adaptive responses among rare or endangered species remain to be analysed. We fear that the forecasts of population persistence for such species of conservation concern will be even more pessimistic”.
This isn’t the first time scientists have warned of mass extinction due to climate change.
Earlier this year the United Nations released a report on biodiversity, and found over one million species of plants and animals risk extinction.
At a press conference, report co-chairman Eduardo Brondizio of Indiana University said
We have reconfigured dramatically life on the planet.
"Humanity unwittingly is attempting to throttle the living planet and humanity's own future," said George Mason University biologist Thomas Lovejoy, who has been called the godfather of biodiversity for his research, CBS News reported.
The biological diversity of this planet has been really hammered, and this is really our last chance to address all of that.