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Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Climate change also has major impacts on Irish biodiversity through its interaction with other stressors, in particular habitat fragmentation and loss; over-exploitation; pollution of air, water and soil; and spread of invasive alien species. It is also well documented that degraded habitats are less resilient to the impacts of climate change and are less able to provide the ecosystem services humans need to survive. Changes to ecosystems, as a result of climate change, are likely to have significant and often negative social, cultural and economic consequences.

At the species level, changes observed that can be attributed to climate change include those surrounding phenology (the timing of seasonal events). Many birds and insects are showing changes, such as earlier onset of migration, egg-laying and breeding Biodiversity adaptation to climate change is a challenge when other pressures also affect biodiversity, so there is a need to address these threats to biodiversity. In response to the threat that climate change poses, various sets of principles have been identified to guide adaptation for biodiversity conservation (Mitchell et al., 2007). These have been incorporated into the actions of the DLR County Biodiversity Action Plan 2021-2025.

The impacts associated with climate change will not occur in isolation; rather climate-driven changes will combine with, and exacerbate, existing stresses on our biodiversity and natural systems. Therefore, it is important that we understand those interactions in order to incorporate measures and actions into our plans and policies to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services. The actions of DLR County Biodiversity Action Plan include actions aimed at addressing climate change impacts. After all, it is biodiversity and ecosystem services that we rely on, not only for our survival, but also for regulating our climate, helping to buffer against climate change and extreme weather events.

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