Claim: Climate change to overtake land use as major threat to global biodiversity


Climate change will have a rapidly increasing effect on the structure of global ecological communities over the next few decades, with amphibians and reptiles being significantly more affected than birds and mammals, a new report by UCL finds.

The pace of change is set to outstrip loss to vertebrate communities caused by land use for agriculture and settlements, which is estimated to have already caused losses of over ten per cent of biodiversity from ecological communities.

Previous studies have suggested that ecosystem function is substantially impaired where more than 20 per cent of species are lost; this is estimated to have occurred across over a quarter of the world’s surface, rising to nearly two thirds when roads are taken into account.

The new study, published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that the effects of climate change on ecological communities are predicted to match or exceed land use in its effects on vertebrate community diversity by 2070.

The findings suggest that efforts to minimise human impact on global biodiversity should now take both land use and climate change into account instead of just focusing on one over the other, as the combined effects are expected to have significant negative effects on the global ecosystem.

Study author, Dr Tim Newbold (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment), said: “This is the first piece of research looking at the combined effects of future climate and land use change on local vertebrate biodiversity across the whole of the land surface, which is essential when considering how to minimise human impact on the local environment at a global scale.

“The results show how big a role climate change is set to play in decreasing levels of biodiversity in the next few decades and how certain animal groups and regions will be most affected.”

Dr Newbold’s research has found that vertebrate communities are expected to lose between a tenth and over a quarter of their species locally as a result of climate change.

Furthermore, when combined with land use, vertebrate community diversity is predicted to have decreased substantially by 2070, with species potentially declining by between 20 and nearly 40 per cent.

The effect of climate change varies around the world. Tropical rainforests, which have seen lower rates of conversion to human use than other areas, are likely to experience large losses as a result of climate change. Temperate regions, which have been the most affected by land use, stand to see relatively small biodiversity changes from future climate change, while tropical grasslands and savannahs are expected to see strong losses as a result of both climate change and land use.



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Timo Soren

“The first…” and let it be the last.


“The results show how big a role climate change is set to play in decreasing levels of biodiversity in the next few decades and how certain animal groups and regions will be most affected.”

Dr Newbold’s research has found that vertebrate communities are expected to lose between a tenth and over a quarter of their species locally as a result of climate change.”

What a stupid claim when PAST Geological history showed greater abundance of life in warmer climates.


Models, built on models, built on wild guesses.

Natural warming, sure. But this is man-made, human-hewed, anthropogenic warming, which is deadly.

Carl Looney



Academic gibberish. Pompous, pure, stupid.


You two missed the sarcasm.

Komrade Kuma

Lets call this crap for what it is. It is not science, its art.

Bill Powers

And it is human nature that as they drone on, at some point, you just want to slap the crap out of them for art’s sake. And Brian’s, Charlie’s, Dick’s…


“It is not science, its art.”

Well said Komrade, and its source is the fervid academic imagination.

Richard of NZ

As my dear old dad used to say art with a capital F

Bryan A

Previous studies have suggested that ecosystem function is substantially impaired where more than 20 per cent of species are lost; this is estimated to have occurred across over a quarter of the world’s surface, rising to nearly two thirds when roads are taken into account.

Is this 25% of the global surface (including oceans which cover >70%) or 25% of the Land Surface?
I wouldn’t think that roads would have a significant effect since they only cover around 0.15% of the land surface area.


0.15% seems like a very high estimate, considering how much land is uninhabited. Northern Asia is most of the land and I wonder how many roads it even has. And, last time I looked Antarctica has no roads at all, not even a paved parking lot.
Heck in my dense suburban neighborhood in southern CA roads don’t even account for 25% of land surface.


If so many species have been lost, he shouldn’t have any trouble naming about 10,000 or so.

These studies all depend on the so called bioclimate envelope model. There are some serious issues with that model including the observation by Araujo etal 2005 that it has not been validated.


It’s output is useful for justifying further grants.
I would say it’s output has been verified.


I don’t think I’ve read anything quite that silly in a long, long, long time.

Would these people weep over the extinction of a crop-devouring pest like the Rocky Mountain black cricket?
Do they give a hoot about what happened to the passenger pigeon?
Do they have any understanding at all – ANY UNDERSTANDING – that insects propagate several generations in one growing season and can/do include genetic changes in that single growing season that include resistance to external factors?
Has it occurred to them that vertebrates and other organisms have come and gone on this planet for a billion or so years now???
Are they even vaguely aware that climate change has been going on for BILLIONS and BILLIONS of years and life still abounds on this planet??????
Have they accounted for the demise of the dinosaurs yet? (Hint: Got too big for their britches, ran out of room. Birds are what’s left.) We weren’t around then, you know.

I doubt sincerely that they ever leave their offices or desks or even go outside to see real sunshine and would freak like a four-year-old over the sight of a dragonfly at work.


Sara….you, along with many others, don’t understand how the phrase ‘climate change’ has been co-opted to mean something different than what you refer to.


Oh, no, Kokoda, I DO understand. I was just venting, that’s all.

Joel Snider

Sara, I’m afraid, what with all that rationality, you would probably be escorted from the room.


Tough bananas, Joel.

If the truth pains them, they can see a shrink about it. 🙂

Joel Snider

That would mean they would have to confront and acknowledge reality.
They aren’t built that way.


You’re dead-on, Sara. Scientists still don’t know how many species there are on earth. Estimates range from 5 to 100 million, with 10 to 30 million being the general talking number. Not knowing how many species there are, scientists can’t predict at what rate they’ve gone extinct, are going extinct, will go extinct or should go extinct, though all agree the vast majority of species (90 percent, plus) that ever lived on earth are now extinct – an observation uncontested by paleontologists.

Eustace Cranch

These almost-daily “claims” are so effing tiresome. They’re essentially all the same story, repackaged and recycled over and over and over and over and OVER.


It’s gonna start getting bad. Soon. Believe me. This time I mean it.


How about these alarmists save themselves countless numbers of words and simply tell us what CANNOT be done by CAGW.


It is not a given that human activities are bad for biodiversity.

Since I was born and brought up in England, I spent my formative years in a land with great beauty and a rich ecology which is almost entirely man-made. The natural ecology of England was uninterrupted and rather boring forest. Humans replaced the forest with an artificial landscape of grassland and moorland, fields and farms, with a much richer variety of plant and animal species. Quite recently, only about a thousand years ago, we introduced rabbits, a non-native species which had a profound effect on the ecology. Rabbits opened glades in the forest where flowering plants now flourish. There is no wilderness in England, and yet there is plenty of room for wild-flowers and birds and butterflies as well as a high density of humans. Perhaps that is why I am a humanist. Freeman Dyson


Dr. Dyson is right: we need more heretics like him and Thomas Gold.


And the fact that the Amazon Jungle was actually planned, managed. The people that did that don’t even have a name. The paragon of “natural man” Yanonami, seem to have forgotten.
And maize, that vital plant, was genetically engineered (selected modified) there by people long forgotten, but who live on in their fantastic gift to mankind.
England followed exactly this route, and the reactionary oligarchy against. Exactly the pattern in South America. The result could be “natives”(as Swift termed Yahoo ) running around in grass without medicine – that “grandma” is actually 25 years old and will never see grandchildren . How Prince Charles likes to cavort in grass skirts (not kilts!) with “natives” is enough to explain the aberrant Royal Society.
Brexit must be a break with the Houyhnhnm (they do talk!).


For most of the past 2.6 million years, England has been covered by ice, tundra or steppe rather than forests. Only in the interglacials is it wooded.

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During the coldest intervals, it was devoid of representatives of genus Homo, who first arrived sometime before about 800 Ka.

Modern humans do indeed improve biodiversity as well as cause extinctions.


Rent is high in greater London so the publishing mill speed and absurdity factor is higher there.

(It’s a land use issue too.)


Who’s paying for this propaganda? It’s more than just tax money supporting the misinformation being incessantly spouted by “researchers” and promoted by the MSM.

Kjell O. Foss

It is amazong how accurate some people can predict the future based on «Global warming».
I decided to check what we all are being told about how the temperature increase in recent times. I walked into the forest and checked the growth rings of the trees that had been cut by loggers. All the trees showed the same thing: The last 35 years have been considerably colder than the 35 years before that. Which means that the climate has become colder, not warmer in the last 70 years.
The trees don’t lie. The trees have no political agenda. The trees grow fast in a warm climate, and they grow slow in a cold climate.
If you can, go and check the growth rings in trees in your area.
If the growth rings show a warm climate, and the the temperature «measurements» say that it was a «cold» climate, the trees are right!
In south Norway, the Climate Panel tells us that the climate has become colder during the last 70 years, but the trees show that the climate has become warmer. Since the trees cannot lie, it is the Climate Panel who is the lier.

Ralph Knapp

How dare you insert a valid observation into the discussion and cause the “warmests” to do much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Ralph Knapp

The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the end of the world is nigh. Yawn

In the financial markets, this discovery is followed by:

“So, sell sky!”

Bob Hoye


Yep, I can see it now. First, you submit your blue prints to the Planning Board, then you submit yourself to the Carbon Board.

Phillip Bratby

What climate change would that be? Is it the descent into the next Little Ice Age?

michael hart

“…the effects of climate change on ecological communities are predicted to match or exceed land use in its effects on vertebrate community diversity by 2070.”

And the S.I. units of change of “vertebrate community diversity” are precisely what, I wonder?
Climate change could mean a million different things. “Land use” means no fewer things. And “community diversity” could mean another million different things.

This is so typical of the meaningless statements so often made by climate alarmists. If you try to pick apart what actual headline claims they are making, and what they mean, you usually find they are saying nothing. I would tear my hair out, but, modesty aside, it’s still too good to waste it on global warmers.

Giles Bointon

Why don’t these alarmists get a backbone.


Didn’t you hear? CO2 dissolves calcium.

It has never been warm before now?

Steve O

Hmm. Do we know anything from the fossil record about biodiversity levels when the earth was a lot warmer? Or, let’s look at today’s world. If we walk from a polar region to the equator is there any change in the observed levels of biodiversity?

son of mulder

Change the environment and evolution (biodiversity) kicks in. Keep it the same and change is slower.

Robert W Turner

You’d think after 70 years of claims about significant man-made climate change, there would be a map illustrating climate zones and where they have changed.

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Oh I forgot, there is now only one climate of Earth and it is illustrated by a temperature anomaly graph.

Andy Pattullo

Science used to be about observation and measurement. Now it’s all about digital weegee boards and untestable predictions of future doom. Isn’t that what we used to refer to as fiction.


Cities are far hotter than the surrounding countryside, up to 20 degrees, and made up of concrete , glass and tar.

Within this far hotter, alien micro-climate, birds, bees, flowers and trees are thriving.

There, that didn’t cost a stick bean to flag up.


Are they predicting a drop in global temperatures here due the impending Solar Minimum or is it all based on the biased CO2 Meme?
I suppose it must be the latter as otherwise it would not have been published.
The concept of negative climate change* seems to have escaped them.

* Note: By this I mean a drop in temperatures; as currently climate change is considered by implication to be an increase in warming.


What the heck does impaired mean? It is impaired because 20% the species are gone or because that 20% were to vital to the ecosystem that it no longer functions as it once did. Got news ecosystem evolve without any input from humans. One new species can arrive or an old species can leave and it can change an ecosystem. Feral hogs have dramatically change the ecosystem throughout the SE USA, got nothing to do with global warming or present land use. They eat reptiles and amphibians.

When I moved to where I am now we had two species of reptile on our property and a couple of amphibian species. We now have at least five reptile species and half a dozen different amphibians.

Of course we are told that these terrible things are going to come to pass but it is long after those predicting such doom and gloom have passed on themselves.

Jeff Alberts


Gunga Din

When has “the climate” NOT changed?
Then why is any life still here?

PS Just what the “H” do they mean by “biodiversity”?
We must at all cost stop Man from losing a sub-species of a sub-species of a sub-species that might not even exist if not for Man?
Take the Smallmouth bass for example. Original range was Lake Ontario and the Ohio River watershed. From the 1870’s or so buckets of fry were carried on the B&O to over the Alleghenies to the Potomac. Eventually they made it to California.
The Neosho Smallmouth is an example of a sub-species that wouldn’t exist if not for Man.

Gunga Din

PS The Smallmouth is a sub of the of a bunch of other bass.
They crossed a smallmouth with a largemouth. The called it a “meanmouth” because it would nip at swimmers.

James Bull

So digging huge holes in the ground filling them with steel and concrete and then mounting a giant windmill on top, covering the fields with plastic, glass and aluminium has no effect on biodiversity who knew?
I think I prefer CO2 making the plants grow better and feeding us and the animals etc to having to pay huge amounts of my tax on unreliable power supplies.

James Bull


It certainly thins out the bird population.
Though ground based scavengers benefit.


That’s always been the case.
You don’t see many tyrannosaurs or pterodactyls around, do you?