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Research Says, Ecological Tipping Points Brought Forward By Extreme Weather Events

Research says, In some systems, the added pressure of new extreme events on top of ongoing stresses brought the tipping points, beyond which collapse was inevitable, closer to the present by as much as 80 per cent

Research Says, Ecological Tipping Points Brought Forward By Extreme Weather Events
The team of researchers, looked at four threatened ecosystems, two lake and two forestry, to work out the factors that might lead to tipping points of collapse using computer modelling

New Delhi: Extreme weather events such as wildfires and droughts will accelerate changes in ecosystems already stressed from factors such as unsustainable land use, agricultural expansion and climate change, leading to their quicker collapse, researchers have found. In some systems, the added pressure of new extreme events on top of ongoing stresses brought the tipping points, beyond which collapse was inevitable, closer to the present by as much as 80 per cent, the researchers found.

The team of researchers, including those from the University of Sheffield, UK, looked at four threatened ecosystems, two lake and two forestry, to work out the factors that might lead to tipping points of collapse using computer modelling.

One of these ecosystems included the historic collapse of the Easter Island (Rapa Nui) civilisation, widely thought to have been the result of over-population combined with unsustainable exploitation of tree cover.

Running the computer models over 70,000 times for each ecosystem, up to 15 per cent of collapses were found to occur from new stresses or extreme events, even as the main stress was kept constant.

Also Read: Flood Situation Remains Grim In Assam; Heavy Rainfall Predicted 

This finding suggests that despite sustainable management of these ecosystems by keeping main stress like deforestation levels constant, new stresses like global warming and extreme weather events, which have increased since 1980 and will continue to do so even at 1.5 degress Celsius warming, could sill bring forward a collapse. Gregory Cooper from the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food and co-author of the study published in Nature Sustainability said,

All four of the ecological systems we looked at showed the same overall outcomes. This has potentially profound implications for our perception of future ecological risks. While it is not currently possible to predict how climate-induced tipping points and the effects of local human actions on ecosystems will connect, our findings show the potential for each to reinforce the other. Any increasing pressure on ecosystems will be exceedingly detrimental and could have dangerous consequences

Scientists are also concerned about possible knock-on effects as one collapsing ecosystem impacts neighbouring ecosystems. Simon Willcock from Rothamsted and Bangor University, UK, who co-led the study said,

Over a fifth of ecosystems worldwide are in danger of collapsing. However, ongoing stresses and extreme events interact to accelerate rapid changes that may well be out of our control. Once these reach a tipping point, it’s too late

Simon Willcock said,

In the past two years, the world has come together around the climate and ecological crises through the UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conferences. But we should remember that the causes of the crises are interlinked – that they have already collided – and that inaction over both may result in dire consequences

Also Read: Heatwave Conditions: Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya To Chair Meeting On Public Health Preparedness 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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