Climate change and biodiversity relations in the eastern Black Sea region
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Turkey contains a great variety of natural habitats, ranging from Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Sea beaches to towering coastal and interior mountains, from deeply incised valleys to expensive steppes, from fertile alluvial plains to arid, rocky hillslopes. The richness in the diversity of habitats translates into richness in the biodiversity in Turkey. But, because of rapid human population growth (about 2.5% per year) and associated intensive or unwise utilization of natural resources and habitats the biodiversity of Turkey is deteriorating. Eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey is rich in biodiversity compared to other regions. The east-west oriented, parallel ranges of the Northern Anatolian Mountains run in the southern part of the Eastern Black Sea. Climate change will significantly influence the biodiversity of the region according to future climate scenarios for the region. We used existing literature related to flora and future climate of the region and field observations done in the different times to assess biodiversity in the region. Future climate of the region has been predicted by the Dalfes et al. (2007) using RegCM3 regional climate model. The region has total of around 2500 plant species and 386 of them are endemic. High mountain areas in Artvin, Rize and Trabzon are the places rich in endemism. Eight of the endemics are in the critically endangered list of IUCN while 55 are in endangered list in the region. The numbers of total species in each city are 1219 for Artvin, 747 for Rize, 894 for Trabzon, 457 for Giresun and 301 for Ordu. Numbers of endemic species in each city are 119 for Artvin, 74 for Rize, 70 for Trabzon, 54 for Giresun and 19 for Ordu. According to future climate scenarios, the eastern part of the region will get 200-300 mm increases in precipitation, while the western part won't have any increase in precipitation in the next century. The temperatures will increase 2-4 °C in the region in the next century according to RegCM3 regional climate model. Both plant belts and tree line will change under the current climate scenarios for the region. The influence of these changes on diversity in the region will be important and will vary according to site conditions.