Vulnerabilities - Plant species
Four deciduous tree species (silver birch, small-leaved lime, Norway maple, and common oak showed advancement of leaf unfolding (beginning of vegetation season) in Central Lithuania during the studied period 1956 – 2013 of 1.6 - 2.2 days per decade (1).
Vulnerabilities - Marine biodiversity
The Baltic Sea today suffers from eutrophication and from dead bottom zones due to (2)
- excessive nutrient loads from land,
- limited water exchange with the world ocean and
- perhaps other drivers like global warming.
The impact of excessive nutrient loads is the most important driver of hypoxia in the Baltic Sea. Without elevated nutrient concentrations, hypoxia would not have occurred during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (5).
Model simulations (2) suggest that global sea level rise will cause increases in
- frequency and magnitude of saltwater inflows,
- salinity and phosphate concentrations in the Baltic Sea as a direct or indirect consequence of increased cross sections in the Danish straits, and will contribute to
- increased hypoxia and anoxia amplifying the previously reported future impacts of increased external nutrient loads due to increased runoff, reduced oxygen flux from the atmosphere to the ocean and intensified internal nutrient cycling due to increased water temperatures in future climate (3).
Although sea level rise will cause more intense inflows of high saline, oxygen-rich water, hypoxic bottom areas will increase because of increased stratification (2).
The combined impact of changing nutrient loads from land and changing climate during the 21st century for the Baltic Sea region has been assessed, for a moderate (RCP 4.5) and high-end scenario (RCP 8.5) of climate change (4). The scientists found in almost all scenario simulations, with differing nutrient inputs, reduced eutrophication and improved ecological state compared to the reference period 1976-2005. This result is a long-lasting consequence of ongoing nutrient load reductions since the 1980s. Only in case of combined high-end nutrient load and climate scenarios, eutrophication is reinforced. Effects of changing climate, within the range of considered greenhouse gas emission scenarios, are smaller than effects of considered nutrient load changes, in particular under low nutrient conditions. Hence, nutrient load reductions following the Baltic Sea Action Plan will lead to improved environmental conditions independently of future climate change (4).
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Lithuania.
- Juknys et al. (2016)
- Meier et al. (2017)
- Meier et al. (2011), in: Meier et al. (2017)
- Saraiva et al. (2019)
- Meier et al. (2019)