Years ago on this blog, I wrote several short articles about future habitable “bio-regions” where humanity would be forced to congregate in order to find a habitable climate (as the planet heated up). Finally, there is some development on this topic called “Life Zones”.
Instead of predicting the future of a single species or a specific habitat under climate change, the current research categorizes Earth into general ‘life zones‘, which are landscape-scale ecosystem types that share similar temperatures, humidity, and dryness.
In the end, researchers put together a global map that contains the locations of 48 possible life zones on Earth, including tropical forests, temperate forests, deserts, boreal forests, grasslands, and shrublands.
Using historic climate data and climate projections spanning 180 years, they then modeled what has happened to the distribution of these zones in the past and what might happen in the future.
It wasn’t rocket science to make this prediction over a 14 years ago. My thoughts were simple – humanity would forsake uninhabitable regions and flee towards habitable ones, which would of necessity include food, water and shelter. This is what anyone / everyone will do when they find themselves living in a hellish hothouse – they would leave. This is already happening in many locations around the world as both climate and ecological collapse is driving people from their homeland by the millions. Over 82 million refugees now exist. They’re not all climate refugees, but most of them are. That number will eventually swell to the billions.
“Consequently, places that will experience the least climate change in the near future – and places where life zones will persist unchanged – represent those with the highest potential for Anthropocene refugia,” the authors write.
“Provided that local extinction does not occur there due to non-climate factors, stable life zones provide the places where biodiversity is most likely to persist, adapt, and even speciate.”
On this, I disagree. Their assumption of “stable eco-regions” includes “the Amazon and Congo Basins, the Sahara desert, southeast Asia, and southern Australia” which are already increasingly inhospitable to life and will remain so – they’re going to be “stable” but near-useless for our species and most of other surviving lifeforms on Earth.
Most, if not all of the Earth’s eco-regions will experience significant changes, some which will be completely inhospitable to life. At least 281 eco-regions are expected to change significantly – which should be a huge warning to everyone.
I would still like to see the Life Project embraced by humanity or something similar. This should be receiving enormous attention. I’m unable to do much more on this idea myself, but someone, somewhere should take this up as a strategic initiative to save our species (for as long as possible). Nobody is, as far as I know, even while the warnings keep coming faster and faster.