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Iconic Ecosystems

March 31, 2015

Local efforts may help protect iconic ecosystems from collapse.



Lanpernas Dospuntozero flickr CC BY NC-SA 2.0

Doñana National Park in Spain. (Lanpernas Dospuntozero/flickr/Creative Commons BY NC-SA 2.0)

Acting locally on climate change. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Great Barrier Reef, The Everglades and the Doñana Wetlands of Spain are all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites— and all are at risk due to climate change. This according to University of Wisconsin, Madison limnologist Steven Carpenter and his colleagues, writing in the journal Science. But there are measures that local governments can take to make these ecosystems more resilient.

STEVEN CARPENTER (University of Wisconsin, Madison):

Even though the global problem appears large and intractable, often local problems can be solved. People can get together and find a solution so they seem less scary.


For example, while warm temperatures trigger toxic algal blooms in lakes, reducing    phosphorus pollution raises that trigger point by one full degree. And in coral reefs, maintaining healthy fish populations helps coral recover from warm-water bleaching events. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.