Scientists from Stanford University and the Wildlife Conservation Society in Australia have produced a map illustrating the global distribution of climate instability.

Above image: Regions with both high climate and vegetation stability are shown in dark grey. Those regions with high climate stability but low levels of vegetation intactness are shown in dark orange. And those ecoregions with low climate stability but high vegetation intactness are dark cream. Regions that have both low climate stability and low levels of vegetation intactness are pale cream. Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society.

Here's a larger version of the map (click to embiggen):


To create the map, researchers used data from the world's ecosystems and predictions of how climate change will impact them. The map is intended to help government, environmental agencies, and donors identify where to best invest in various eco-friendly activities, such as restoration efforts and establishing protected areas.

The vulnerability map considers the relationship of two factors: how intact an ecosystem is, and how stable it's going to be under predictions of future climate change. The researchers developed a rating system with four general categories for the world's terrestrial regions (as noted above), along with management recommendations.

Looking at the map, it's clear that southern and southeastern Asia, western and central Europe, eastern South America, and southern Australia are among the most vulnerable regions.

Check out the entire study at Nature Climate Change: "Mapping vulnerability and conservation adaptation strategies under climate change."


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