Achieving Paris Agreement is the key to save “endemic species”: Study

What is the News?

According to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation, 90% of the endemic species will face extinction unless the goals of the Paris Agreement are met.

Note: Endemic species are those plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region. Species can be endemic to an island, state, nation, country or other defined zone.

For example, Kolar Leaf Nose Bat is endemic to India and endemic to only one cave in Hanumanahalli village in Kolar district, Karnataka

About the Study:
  • The scientists analysed almost 300 biodiversity hotspots — places with exceptionally high numbers of animal and plant species — on land and at sea.
  • Many of these hotspots contain endemic species that are unique to one geographic location.
What did the study find out?
  • Endemic species are 2.7 times more likely to go extinct due to unchecked increase in temperature than other species. This is because they are only found in one place. Climate change alters their only habitat. So, they are at risk of permanent extinction.
  • According to this study, If the planet heats by over 3 °C, then one-third of endemic species living on land will face extinction. Similarly, about half of the endemic species living in the sea will also face extinction.
    • On mountains, 84% of endemic animals and plants face extinction at these temperatures.
    • On islands, the number rises to 100%. It means no endemic at all.
  • Overall, 92% of land-based endemic and 95% of marine endemics face negative consequences.
  • Some endemic species threatened by climate change include:
    • Lemurs: unique to Madagascar
    • Snow leopard: unique to the Himalayas.
    • Medicinal plants such as lichen Lobaria pindarensis (this is used to alleviate arthritis).
  • In Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean islands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats will lose most of their endemic plants and animals by 2050.
  • However, remaining within the climate goals of the Paris Agreement (keep global heating well below 2 °C, ideally at 1.5 °C) will save the majority of the species.

Source: Indian Express

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