Global warming has extended the destructive reach of humankind. Plants and animals far from human habitation are now threatened by the climate change resulting from the carbon we release into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. In fact, according to a new study, global warming may surpass other byproducts of human activity, such as deforestation, in driving species into extinction.
Forester Jay Malcolm of the University of Toronto and his international team of conservation professionals looked at the changes to vegetation types, or biomes, in 25 so-called hotspots–unique ecosystems with a wide range of endemic species. The researchers modeled what would happen to the plants in these areas if the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide doubled in the next 100 years.