Climate change

Tropical forests are suffering from increasing intensities and frequency of disturbances. As a result, non-native species accidentally introduced or intentionally planted for farming, plantations, and ornamental purposes may spread and potentially invade undisturbed native forest. It is not known if these introduced species will become invasive, as a result of recurrent natural disturbances such as hurricanes.

Questions: Do past disturbance, soil nutrients, or species diversity predict the invasion success of the alien tree Pittosporum undulatum in an island montane rain forest? What are the consequences of its invasion for forest composition and species diversity? Location: Blue Mountains, Jamaica. Methods: Censuses of trees ? 3 cm DBH in permanent plots in four sites within ca. 7 ha; 1974–2004 (intensive sites) and in 16 plots within 250 ha; 1990–2004 (extensive plots).

In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel caused unexpectedly high levels of wind damage to an 80-to 100-year-old forest in the Piedmont of Maryland. The storm had decreased in intensity from landfall by the time it reached the study site—sustained winds were moderate and maximum gusts recorded in the area were only 62.7 mph (28.1 m?s-1). Midsized gaps (up to 1 ha) were created in forest that historically had only small or single-tree gaps. Isabel created the opportunity to determine whether natural disturbance facilitates the spread of exotic invasive plant species.

In hardwood subtropical forests of southern Florida, nonnative vines have been hypothesized to be detrimental, as many species form dense ‘‘vine blankets’’ that shroud the forest. To investigate the effects of nonnative vines in post-hurricane regeneration, we set up four large (two pairs of 30 3 60 m) study areas in each of three study sites.

ARMENTANO. T.V.; DOREN, R.F.; PLATT, W.J., and MULLINS, T., 1995. Effects of Hurricane Andrew on coastal and interior forests of southern Florida: Overview and synthesis. Journal of Coastal Research, SI No. 21, pp. 111-144. Fort Lauderdale (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208. The effects of Hurrican Andrew upn the forests of south Florida as of early 1994 are summarized from studies conducted at sites located within the track of the storm as it passed across the peninsula. Updated information on the storm's track and eyewall configuration also is provided.

Life on Earth is disappearing fast and will continue to do so unless urgent action is taken. Well designed and effectively managed systems of protected areas are a vital tool for reducing biodiversity loss while delivering environmental goods and services that underpin sustainable development. There are currently over 130,000 protected areas worldwide, covering around 13.9 % of the Earth’s land surface and 5.9 % of the territorial marine surface. These areas represent a tremendous resource for conserving biodiversity and for protecting vital ecosystem services.

The Helping Islands Adapt workshop was held in Auckland, New Zealand between the 11th and 16th of April 2010 to support regional action against invasive species on islands, in order to preserve biodiversity and adapt to climate change. It arose from decisions under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) relating to invasive alien species and island biodiversity, and was hosted by the Government of New Zealand with support from a number of partner organisations and countries.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, cyclones, and tropical depressions cause average annual direct losses of US$284 million in the Pacific. With a combined population of fewer than 10 million people, annual losses are the highest in the world on a per-capita basis. Extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall are closely linked to climate change, suggesting that Pacific Island nations face increasing risk of disasters such as flooding and landslides. Proactive management through infrastructure development, social solutions, and/or ecosystem-based adaptation can mitigate these risks.

Angaur is a 8.4 sq. km island located (654' N, 134 09' E) in the southwestern Palau Islands. The island makes up one of the Republic of Palau’s 16 states. Angaur has suffered considerable land degradation due to past phosphate mining as well as military action during WWII. Land degradation problems in recent years have been compounded by El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) high tides exacerbated by a gradual increase in average sea level attributed to climate change.

This booklet is an outcome of a Climate Change and Health symposium organized by the core working group of the Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health project in Fiji. The views expressed in the document by named authors are solely the responsibility of the named authors. Referencing and quote from this booklet should be acknowledged accordingly. It is a product of Ministry of Health & Medical Services -Fiji, MOHMS Fiji and World Health Organization, WHO collaboration.