Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 16 Dec 2017 12am

     

     

     

     

     

    Sunday, December 17, 2017-11:17:07A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Climate change in the islands

OVER the last two centuries, experts say human activities have resulted in more greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to steadily increase.

Although Micronesians and other Pacific islanders are among the lesser contributors to global warming, we are at the greatest risk from its negative impacts which include rising sea levels.

A number of islands in Micronesia and the Pacific are small island states/territories, low-lying atolls, volcanic or mountainous islands such as Guam, Palau, Nauru, Pohnpei and the NMI where majority of the population lives in the coastal areas which makes us particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

In addition, islanders depend on natural resources from land and sea which include fisheries, tourism, and agriculture which will be directly affected by the changing climate.

Researchers from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland found that while many plant species are able to persist in less favorable climate conditions, those same species often do so by adopting last-stand strategies such as shrinking in size and temporarily suspending reproductive and growth effort. This merely helps them to survive instead of thrive in these less favorable environments.

“Plants provide us with food, pastures for livestock and places for recreation and well-being,” the researchers say. “They also directly and indirectly provide numerous invaluable ecosystem services such as water regulation, carbon sequestration and flood prevention. As a result, it is imperative that we understand how plant populations are responding to climate constraints now, and use that information to predict how they are likely to respond to climatic changes in the future.”

A professor of zoology at Trinity College, Yvonne Buckley, said: “Not all plants have the life strategies to persist for extended periods of time in less favorable climates, but our research is already helping to pinpoint those that do. One of the next steps is to design management strategies to help support these species and to safeguard the ecosystem services that they provide us.”

Many islanders believe that human activities should support species and safeguard the ecosystem.