Carbon storage reduced by Biodiversity loss

A recent study analyzed this ongoing issue, which risks having serious repercussions on our lives

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Carbon storage reduced by Biodiversity loss
© Jeff J Mitchell / Staff Getty Images

Climate change and subsequent global warming are having all kinds of repercussions on our everyday lives. Loss of biodiversity and biomes, desertification, acidification and rising oceans, melting of ice, risks to human health and to all animal species. But the loss of biodiversity due to the environmental and climate crisis is also leading to repercussions on carbon storage.

The study Biodiversity loss reduces global terrestrial carbon storage, published on the Nature communications, shared an interesting retrospective on this delicate issue.

Reserves are obviously decreasing and new deposits are not always easy to find or simple to extract. It must be said that such news, from some points of view, can encourage governments to move towards the use of greener and more sustainable energy, such as photovoltaic, wind or geothermal energy.

The researchers explained: “Natural ecosystems store large amounts of carbon globally, as organisms absorb carbon from the atmosphere to build large, long-lasting, or slow-decaying structures such as tree bark or root systems. An ecosystem's carbon sequestration potential is tightly linked to its biological diversity. Yet when considering future projections, many carbon sequestration models fail to account for the role biodiversity plays in carbon storage. Here, we assess the consequences of plant biodiversity loss for carbon storage under multiple climate and land-use change scenarios.

Ocean acidification
Ocean acidification© Sean Gallup / Staff Getty Images
 

We link a macroecological model projecting changes in vascular plant richness under different scenarios with empirical data on relationships between biodiversity and biomass We find that biodiversity declines from climate and land use change could lead to a global loss of between from a global sustainability scenario to a fossil-fueled development scenario. This indicates a self-reinforcing feedback loop, where higher levels of climate change lead to greater biodiversity loss, which in turn leads to greater carbon emissions and ultimately more climate change. Conversely, biodiversity conservation and restoration can help achieve climate change mitigation goals."