Vulnerabilities - Terrestrial biodiversity
The concurrent increase in the productivity of the tundra, probably due to longer and warmer growing seasons, will in the long run cause northern boreal forests to invade the tundra, while boreal forests at the southern ecotone are likely to retreat due to increasing drought, insects and more prevalent fires (1). Since the rate of loss at the southern ecotone due to relatively fast processes such as fire is likely to be higher than the rate of gain at the northern ecotone due to the slow growth conditions, the overall effect of these two processes for the boreal forests is likely to be negative during the transient phase, i.e. until a new equilibrium between climate and vegetation is established. However, in equilibrium a general increase in deciduous vegetation at the expense of evergreen vegetation is predicted at all latitudes (2).
Vulnerabilities - Marine biodiversity
Surface temperature of the Black Sea increased during the period 1982 – 2015 by 0.64 °C per decade. This is expected to continue, possibly reaching +5.1 °C by 2100 (compared to 2015). The warming of the sea seems to influence the amount of caught anchovies in the Black Sea, the most caught fish species in the Black Sea. The amount of captured anchovies generally decreased with increased sea surface temperature (5).
Given the scale and the magnitude of projected climatic impacts over the arctic, the only adaptation strategy is to protect the resilience of the system, its natural autonomous adaptation capacity. This is done by tackling the stresses that are currently affecting arctic biodiversity. Pollution is one of the major problems. It originates from shipping traffic (oil spills, accidents, chemical), mining, oil and gas development. Also persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium) and radionuclides are widespread (3).
Overall, the warming will favor an increase of human activities in the Arctic Circle. On land, conditions may be more favorable for people to move north, while the reduced ice cover over the arctic sea will likely increase the shipping traffic, fisheries opportunities and the exploitation of oil and gas reserves. This poses new environmental threats that must be addressed now (4). A potential solution is to identify and designate protected areas before any major industrial plan is put forward. This is part of a broad ecosystem approach that aims at (3):
- Conserving natural resources and services so that they can be the base for long-term sustainable development;
- Protection of key species, habitats and services that have regional and global benefits;
- Identifying and solve possible conflicts between stakeholders in the conservation and development field before major investments are put forward.
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Russia.
- Denman et al. (2007); Fischlin et al. (2007), in: Fischlin (ed.) (2009)
- Fischlin (ed.) (2009)
- Cenacchi (2008)
- Rosentrater and Ogden (2003), in: Cenacchi (2008)
- Sakalli and Başusta (2018)