Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity in Northern Canada
Because global warming can result in the decreasing of marine, freshwater and terrestrial communities, climate change has negative influences on biodiversity in Northern Canada. In order to conserve the biodiversity and improve the global warming, Canadian governments and schools have devoted to take actions on climate change. Climate change refers to a change in the weather which can be an environmental problem, such as the sea level rising, more warming over land than oceans, and more hot days and nights. In the past century, climate change was consistent with greenhouse gases increase (Philippe & Kool, 2000, p. 6). According to Lemieux and Scott (2005, p. 385), anthropogenic climate warming is threaten to global biodiversity; thus, climate change has many impacts. Climate change has significant consequences for Northern Canadian ecosystems. The marine environment has been threatened by climate change. Glaciers, ice caps, and the sea ice cover area have been decreasing due to the global warming. Since 1920, primarily due to the climate change, glaciers and ice caps across the Arctic have shown shrunk lessens in volume and glacier fronts, leading to the rise of sea lever (Prowse et. l, 2009a, p. 277). Moreover, the annual averaged area of sea ice in Northern Canada has decreased by 7. 4% from 1978 to 2003 (Prowse et. al, 2009a, p. 266). As a result, species that rely on the ice-edge environment like polar bears have a population decrease. Annual duration of sea ice has significant impacts on the population of marine mammals, who dependent on sea ice are facing stress due to the decline in the sea ice duration change; species such as beluga, narwhal and walrus are facing population decline (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p. 285).
Furthermore, the distribution of arctic whale species has also been changed. Prowse et. al (2009b, p. 286) state that owing to climate warming, the distribution and range arctic whale species will be more northern. Besides, the northward distribution change results in an increase in the prevalence of animals around the Arctic marine system, which is directly caused of global warming and reduction of sea ice area (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p. 285). The arctic freshwater communities also respond to the various effects of climate change in many ways.
First of all, global warming directly influences the biodiversity of freshwater fishes. According to Reist et. al (2006b, p. 383), lake trout will disappear from certain areas due to the temperature of freshwater rising. Despite this impact, individual species may be confined to the Arctic. It is a trend that the distribution of many freshwater species will be more northward, owing to the climate change. And this distribution range change can cause the decreasing of optimal habitat for “native” Arctic species (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p. 383).
Furthermore, the reproduction and productivity of freshwater species are also significantly influenced by climate variables. Because the distribution of freshwater fishes changes from southern area to northwards, fishers in the southwards are facing the reduction in productivity (Reist et. al, 2006a, p. 373). Reist et. al, (2006b, p. 383) state that because of climate change, not only the population but the size are limited for northern pike. Additionally, a number of fish roe for anadromous is negatively influenced by climate warming.
According to Reist et. al, (2006b, p. 383), the anadromous, fishes spawn in freshwater, behaviour declines in frequency, and the distribution range moves towards to more northward. As a result, the biodiversity of freshwater species is seriously affected by climate change. Not only the marine environment and the freshwater communities, but the terrestrial species are also impacted by climate change. The number of plant species has been decreasing. Prowse et. al, (2009b, p. 84) report that temperature and precipitation change will lead to the change in the composition of flora communities, and this can result in the loss of plant species. Also, Lemieux & Scott (2005, p. 393) state that there is a wide decline in the taiga biome, thus, the global warming directly impact the biodiversity of plant species. Climate change can also influence the birds’ growth rate as well. Lower birds’ growth rates and adult body mass occurred in the north (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p. 286). Additionally, the caribou activities are threatened by climate change as well.
According to the report from Prowse et. al. (2009b, p. 285), owing to global warming, the incidence of parasitic infection happens more frequently and the forage has been decreasing in winter; these trends result in the decline in numbers of caribou. Moreover, the impact of climate change on the permafrost seems to be serious. Discontinuous permafrost will disappear at the southern boundaries of these permafrost zones, and the continuous permafrost will degrade to the discontinuous permanent; that can result in some lakes and wetlands turning to drain (Prowse et. l, 2009a, p. 268). The change in permafrost will directly influence the number of lakes and wetlands. As the climate continues to change, biodiversity must be protected by taking actions. First of all, Canadian governments are centered on making plans for parks and protected areas. Terrestrial protected area systems and national parks system plans have been taken measures to adapt to the decreasing of biodiversity and other disadvantages caused by climate change (Lemieux & Scott, 2005, p. 394-396).
For example, the national parks which include natural region and ecoregion classifications are in Canada’s Protected Area Network can protect specific natural features and species, and Canadian governments can also monitor the biodiversity change in both plants and animals better, so that the government can make plans more frequently and systematically, and these parks can be mandated to protect in the future (Lemieux & Scott, 2005, p. 394-396). Also, the Canadian government is considering implementing measures to protect the biodiversity of mammals.
For example, the Canadian government limits the harvest of caribou, thus, the population of caribou can be protected (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p. 285). Moreover, Canadian schools also protect biodiversity by using knowledge. Canadian schools aim to address the causes of climate change by students’ discussion, and figure out several solutions which people can take measures in their daily lives to improve the climate change. For example, teaching students with the use of school ground naturalization projects can elp students understand the factors which climate change can influence, so that students can protect the local environment in their own ways (Philippe & Kool, 2000, p. 18). Canadian schools also encourage planting gardens; this attitude can improve the impact of climate change by reducing the greenhouse gass (Philippe & Kool, 2000, p. 17). In conclusion, climate change as a hot topic over the world causes many negative effects on biodiversity in Northern Canada. As the climate continues to change, the Northern Canadian ecosystems are seriously impacted.
Not only the distribution of marine species, communities and terrestrial species is influenced, the population and the growth of these species are also affected by global warming. As a result, Canadian governments and schools have taken actions for biodiversity conservation. On one hand, they are trying to adapt and reduce the negative influences of climate change; on the other hand, they make plans to protect biodiversity in Northern Canada. Although the climate change issue is still a problem for both Canadian government and people, this problem could be improved by their appropriate actions in order to conserve the Canadian biodiversity.