JDR Vol.3 No.2 p. 97
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2008.p0097


Special Issue on Climate Change (Part 2)

Hideaki Karaki* and Syunsuke Ikeda**

*Professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo
Expert member of the Food Safety Commission, Cabinet Office
Executive member of the Science Council of Japan
3-5-6-301 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0021, Japan Tokyo

** Institute of Technology
2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro,
Tokyo 152-8552, Japan

April 1, 2008
Global warming precipitated by human activity in turn affects plants and animals in addition to human life. This special issue on Climate Change (Part 2) presents two reviews on the biological effects of global warming. Higuchi discusses how plants have started to bloom, leaf, and bear fruits earlier than 30 years ago. Birds have started laying eggs earlier than 25 years ago and migrating and singing -- both related to breeding -- earlier than before. Other changes include a shift in the ranges of some plants and animals northward or to higher elevations. One problem resulting from these changes are distortions or mismatches in biological interactions such as predation, pollination, seed dispersion, and parasitism because changes in phenology and habitation ranges vary by species and groups. newpage Global warming is thus also affecting biodiversity and changing ecosystem structures and functioning. In the second review, Kobayashi et al. show how global warming is changing the habitation range of disease-transmitting insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Because insects are cold-blooded, their activities are strongly influenced by environmental temperature. Changes in the distribution of disease-transmitting "vector" insects in turn change the distribution of disease. Summarizing his review, Higuchi wrote that "From a cynical point of view, it could be said that we are currently making an experiment on a global scale to investigate when and how our warming of the entire globe will affect the natural world and our own lifestyles."
Cite this article as:
H. Karaki and S. Ikeda, “Special Issue on Climate Change (Part 2),” J. Disaster Res., Vol.3 No.2, p. 97, 2008.
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