Climate Vulnerability in the Barents Sea Ecoregion



Posted on 28 July 2007  | 
Burning oil. Heavy oil pollution in a tundra forest due to pipeline leakage. Komi Republic, Russian Federation
© © WWF-Canon / Michel GUNTHER Enlarge
In this report, we examine how climate change impacts may intersect and interact with other stressors in the Barents Sea Ecoregion (BSEr). We investigate the vulnerability of the BSEr to both climate change and increased transport activity, particularly in relation to oil and gas transport from Western Russia in order to develop a preliminary framework for assessing the effects of multiple stressors.

Based on a survey of existing literature, some of the key processes and species that contribute to biodiversity in the BSEr are identified and current and future threats from maritime traffic discussed.

We next discuss climate change impacts and vulnerability and present some future climate scenarios based on the results for 2050 from the Bergen Climate Model.

We then assess potential interactions between the two stressors and present an example of a structural analysis of multiple stressors for the BSEr. This analysis demonstrates that the various factors that affect biodiversity are interdependent. Biodiversity pressures may be created simultaneously by climate change and increasing transport activities, and that interaction between multiple stressors may be synergistic as well as cumulative.

There is therefore a need to consider climate change not as merely another stressor added to other stressors in BSEr, but as a stressor that interacts with other stressors in the region. We conclude that assessments of present-day vulnerability to growing maritime traffic are insufficient as a basis for long-term management plans unless they take into account the complexity and uncertainties introduced by climate change.
Burning oil. Heavy oil pollution in a tundra forest due to pipeline leakage. Komi Republic, Russian Federation
© © WWF-Canon / Michel GUNTHER Enlarge

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