The Role of the Natural Environment in Adaptation

Climate change impacts are already being widely felt and will increase in severity by the middle of this century, further changing rainfall regimes and increasing the frequency of high temperatures, storms, floods and other extreme events. These impacts are directly affecting people, economies and the natural world. Climate change alters the survival and distribution of species and contributes to ecosystem degradation, exacerbating the effects of unsustainable management. Climate change thus threatens the services that nature provides (ecosystem services), and their role in underpinning economies and societal well-being. These interactions can cause a downward spiral of resource depletion and increasing vulnerability, for example through reduced ecosystem productivity, increases in pests and diseases, reduced water quality and availability, increasing risks to lives, assets and infrastructure.

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