News & Events

Biodiversity loss - climate change plays a much larger role than land use


Intensive agricultural use has a major impact on biodiversity. In the future, however, climate change could replace agriculture as the main cause of the biodiversity crisis.

Model calculations for this have so far been rare because it is difficult to predict the development of agriculture. Scientists from the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences have now developed a combined model for an exemplary region in the Austrian Alps. The results of the calculations suggest that the habitats of most species in the region - under all assumptions about the economic and climatic development of the next decades - will shrink. For these habitat losses, climate change plays a much larger role than land use. "This result is surprising," says Iwona Dullinger from the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research at the University of Vienna, "because a large number of the 834 plant species we modeled are sensitive to differences in land use."[more]

Dullinger, I., Gattringer, A., Wessely, J., Moser, D., Plutzar, C., Willner, W., Egger, C., Gaube, V., Haberl, H., Mayer, A., Bohner, A., Gilli, C., Pascher, K. Essl, F. & Dullinger, S. 2020: A socio-ecological model for predicting impacts of land-use and climate change on regional plant diversity. Global Change Biology.

(c) Iwona Dullinger, University of Vienna