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Difference Between Biodiversity and Climate Change

Climate change and biodiversity are interconnected and influence each other.

As a result of climate change, adverse effects can be expected at all levels of biodiversity. The climate change can affect life and reproductive cycles of species in the ecosystems, thus influencing populations, communities, and processes, and may facilitate the invasion of alien species. Genetic diversity can be reduced because of the extinction of endangered species. Ecosystems, rich in biodiversity and in good condition, are less vulnerable to climate change.

On the other hand, the biodiversity (and the forests in particular), through the provided ecosystem services, contributes the climate change mitigation and adaptation. The green infrastructure in cities can help reduce the costs, related to the adaptation to climate change and creates various opportunities to mitigate catastrophic and adverse impacts.

 

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity (biological diversity) is the diversity of living organisms and ecological complexes of which they are part. This includes diversity within species, between species and ecosystems. Biodiversity is not just a sum of ecosystems, species, and genetic material. It rather represents the variability within and between them.

Biodiversity is considered at different levels:

  • Genetic diversity;
  • Species diversity;
  • Ecosystem diversity.

Biodiversity is subject to different biological sciences, depending on the studied level – zoology, botany, microbiology, ecology, genetics, etc.

Biodiversity, being the diversity of all life on Earth, plays a key role in the structural organization of ecosystems and maintaining the processes within them. It is essential for human well-being as it provides services that support all economies and societies. Biodiversity is also crucial for ecosystems – services provided by nature, such as flood protection, pollination, soil fertility, climate regulation, production of food, fuels, fibers, and medicines.

 

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is a long-term change in climate patterns – local or global. In recent decades, the term is often used specifically to the increase of the global temperatures from the middle of the 20th century to the present.

Climate change can refer to an alternation in climate patterns (wind patterns, average temperatures, rainfall, etc.) of a particular location or the planet as a whole.

Climate change may or may not be directly related to human activities. Different gases in the atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, etc.) trap the heat and keep the planet warm, by acting as the roof of a greenhouse. These gases are collectively known as greenhouse gases. They occur in the atmosphere naturally and are vital for the life on Earth. However, their natural levels have been significantly exceeded due to emissions from different human activities – burning of fossil fuels, land-use change, farming activities, etc. As a result of the increased levels of greenhouse gases, the temperatures of the lower atmosphere and Earth’s surface are increasing. Burning of fossil fuels, land-use changes, and farming activities are complementary to the natural climatic variability observed over comparable time periods.

Climate change is subject of climatology – the science that studies climate and weather conditions.

According to the predicted climate scenarios, in the medium term, droughts and extreme climatic phenomena (storms, floods, landslides, etc.) can be expected. As a result, adverse effects can be expected on biodiversity and human society. On the other hand, in some regions, the expected annual increase in average temperatures can help to adapt, by increasing the vegetation season and allowing the migration of species into natural ecosystems or a controlled introduction of species for agriculture, green infrastructure or other adaptation purposes.

 

Difference Between Biodiversity and Climate Change

Definition

Biodiversity: Biodiversity is the diversity of living organisms and ecological complexes of which they are part.

Climate Change: Climate change is a long-term change in climate patterns – local or global.

Levels

Biodiversity: Biodiversity is considered at three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity, ecosystem diversity.

Climate Change: Climate change can refer to an alternation in climate patterns (wind patterns, average temperatures, rainfall, etc.) of a particular location or the planet as a whole.

Science

Biodiversity: Biodiversity is subject to different biological sciences, depending on the studied level – zoology, botany, microbiology, ecology, genetics, etc.

Climate Change: Climate change is subject to climatology.

Importance

Biodiversity: Biodiversity plays a key role in the structural organization of ecosystems and maintaining the processes within them. It is essential for human well-being as it provides services that support all economies and societies.

Climate Change: Climate change may lead to droughts and extreme climatic phenomena (storms, floods, landslides, etc.), resulting in adverse effects on biodiversity and human society. In some regions, the expected annual increase in average temperatures can increase the vegetation season and allow migration of species and controlled introduction of species for agriculture, green infrastructure or other adaptation purposes.

Biodiversity Vs. Climate Change: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of  Biodiversity vs. Climate Change

  • Biodiversity is the diversity of living organisms and ecological complexes of which they are part.
  • Climate change is a long-term change in climate patterns – local or global.
  • Climate change and biodiversity are interconnected and influence each other. As a result of climate change, adverse effects can be expected at all levels of biodiversity. On the other hand, the biodiversity, through the provided ecosystem services, contributes the climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Biodiversity is considered at three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity, ecosystem diversity. Climate change can refer to an alternation in climate patterns (wind patterns, average temperatures, rainfall, etc.) of a particular location or the planet as a whole.
  • Biodiversity is subject to different biological sciences, depending on the studied level – zoology, botany, microbiology, ecology, genetics, etc. Climate change is subject to climatology.
  • Biodiversity plays a key role in the structural organization of ecosystems and maintaining the processes within them. It is essential for human well-being as it provides services that support all economies and societies.
  • Climate change may lead to droughts and extreme climatic phenomena, resulting in adverse effects on biodiversity and human society. In some regions, it can increase the vegetation season and allow migration and controlled introduction of species.

 

Dr. Mariam Bozhilova Forest Research Institute, BAS

Environmental Expert with PhD in Botany at Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Mariam has a Master’s degree in Ecology and a PhD in Botany.
Currently, she works in the Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Mariam has more than 10 years of professional experience in scientific research and environmental consultancy. She has worked within non-profit, profit, and academic environment, and consulted business clients and competent authorities.
Her main professional interests are in the area of:
Scientific research;
Web content writing;
Environmental consultancy.
Dr. Mariam Bozhilova Forest Research Institute, BAS

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References :


[0]Dallas, N. Climate Change Basics: 24 Lessons Revealing the Fundamentals. New York: McGrow-Hill 2016. Print. 2008. Print.

[1]Remmert, H. Ecology. A Textbook. Basel: Springer. 1980. Print.

[2]Krishnamurthy, К. Textbook of Biodiversity 1st Edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 2003. Print.

[3]Image credit: https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/tracer-bullets/images/fish.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/981/la-nada-climate-pattern-lingers-in-the-pacific/

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