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In developed nations perhaps the greatest effects of climate change over the next century will be especially adverse impacts on nature - disappearance of many wetlands due to sea level rise and changes in climate, retreat of many forests due to climatic stress, and extinction of some species that require cold habitats. Even when species survive on our planet they may be forced to migrate toward the poles to survive. Sugar maples may disappear from New England in this century. The likely rapid shift in climatic zones from global warming, even at the low ends of climate models, will threaten habitats of many species of plant and animal life. Development pressures by humans in rich and poor countries alike are already posing great risks to the survival of many species; climate change will add to these pressures. Parks and nature preserves may be especially vulnerable to climatic stress.

Climate change may cause large losses to natural habitats and wildlife in developing countries. Sizable dislocations of human populations are likely and may hinder any efforts to address challenges to wildlife as governments may be overwhelmed coping with needs of their populace. The Bengal Tiger whose natural habitat is the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh and India could face loss of habitat as salinity levels in the Sundarbans increase and sea level rise inundates more of this area. Some species of amphibians have disappeared in the cloud forest regions of Costa Rica and climate change may have been a factor in their extinction.

Author - Body and Mind

Published - 2007-03-30