OSLO (Reuters) - Many species of birds, amphibians and corals not currently under threat will be at risk from climate change and have been wrongly omitted from conservation planning, according to a major new international study.
The Amazon rainforest was among the places where ever more types of birds and amphibians would be threatened as temperatures climbed, it said. Common corals off Indonesia would also be among the most vulnerable.
Overall, up to 41 percent of all bird species, 29 percent of amphibians and 22 percent of corals were “highly climate change vulnerable but are not currently threatened”, the team of scientists wrote in the journal PLOS ONE.
"It was a surprise," said Wendy Foden, of the global species program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) who led the study. Experts had expected far more overlap between species threatened now and those vulnerable to global warming.
Conservation priorities should be revised to take account of the emerging climate risks, for instance to decide where to locate protected areas for wildlife, the scientists wrote.