Biological diversity and climate change

R. Leemans*, S.E. Nunez Ramos*, J.R.M. Alkemade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter reviews the climate change impacts on biodiversity, species, and ecosystems. However, other threats, such as land use change and habitat destruction, also contribute to the global decline of biodiversity. This chapter uses an integrated approach by singling out climatic factors where ever possible and combining them with other relevant factors where needed. Such an approach paints an integrated picture of change in biodiversity and allows to inform policies to slow or halt the decline of biodiversity. The first climate change impact studies focused on modeling potentially shifting vegetation and phenology patterns. Later, other ecological aspects were included. During the 1990s, actual climate change impacts were observed, which enriched the model-based impacts assessments. From 2000 and onward, the climate change impacts on biodiversity, species, and ecosystems were used to inform politicians on the urgency to limit climate change and to protect biodiversity. This was probably effective as the UN FCCC's Paris Target is largely motivated by extreme weather events and threats to biodiversity. This chapter concludes by evaluating if current and proposed climate change and conservation policies are adequate to protect biodiversity. The analysis unambiguously shows that they not yet are successful and that the decline in biodiversity continues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change
Subtitle of host publicationObserved Impacts on Planet Earth
EditorsTrevor Letcher
ISBN (Electronic)9780128215760
ISBN (Print)9780128215753
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2021


  • Climate change
  • Impact assessments and scenarios
  • Policy’s effectiveness
  • Species and ecosystem responses
  • Terrestrial biodiversity
  • The paris target


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