Climate change is pushing ecosystems beyond ‘tipping points’, research shows

Climate change is pushing ecosystems beyond ‘tipping points’, research shows

Ecosystems threatened by climate change can collapse faster than those faced with additional stresses such as bad agricultural practices, new research suggests.

The findings shed light on what could happen in the coming decades if global warming continues to put the natural environment under strain.

Researchers have said that while ecosystems can collapse rapidly, they also have the ability to recover quickly if the stresses they face are removed.

In a study published in Nature Sustainability, scientists used computer models to understand variables influencing the collapse of two lake ecosystems and two forest ecosystems.

Simon Willcock, professor of sustainability at Rothamsted Research, an agricultural research centre, said that simulations found that if an ecosystem is already strained, it will reach a “tipping point” and collapse much sooner if an additional stress is imposed on it.

“When it collapses, it will collapse much closer to the present day if there are multiple drivers,” he told The National. “If it’s under multiple stresses, it’s much more likely to collapse than the same system under one stress.”

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