Header Ads Widget


BSc Ed

“The global climate change is projected to impact Africa’s ecosystem”. Basing on IPCC Fifth assessment report chapter 22, for Africa region, and the other four references, justify this statement.

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns that last for a long period of time (Schneider et al, 2007). These significant changes ranging from decades to millions of year, climate changes may be caused by factors such as oceanic process, biotic process, plate tectonic,and insolationand anthropogenic. An ecosystem is a community made up of living organisms and non-living components such as air, water and mineral soil that interacting with each other (Mooney, 2002). It includes the interaction between living things andnon-living things with their surroundings. An ecosystem can be terrestrial or aquatic ecosystem such as forest and water bodies.Climate is among the external factors which affect the ecosystem in the world. Therefore, the global climate change affects the world’s ecosystems .Among all continents, Africa is at more risk to face severe impacts due to its geographical position in the tropical zone, limited adaptive capacity, high poverty level and low level of development of science and technology. Africa is likely to be the continent most vulnerable to climate change (Schneider et al, 2007). Also the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) report in 2007 recorded a warming rate of approximately 0.7oC over most of the continent during the 20 century, a decrease of rainfall over large portion of the Sahel and an increase in rainfall in Eastern Central Africa. Therefore the global climate change is projected to impact African’s ecosystem as follow.

Water stress, climate change particularly an increase in temperature and low precipitation has been affecting the quality and quantity of water hence lead to water stress among African countries. Change in run off, change of ground water recharge, increase in organic matter decomposition and an increased incidence events of drought and flood are among the noticed effect that lead to water stress, which in turn affects various ecosystems, both water and terrestrial. A decrease in run off of about 17% over the past decades in Africa reported in (IPCC, 2007). However IPCC also recorded a warming rate of approximately 0.7oC over most of the continent during the 20 century and changes in rainfall in eastern central Africa. Therefore those changes are likely to affect the ecosystems due to water stress that appears as a result. The water shortage faced by some countries is going to be worse by climate changes. Those countries without water shortage now will be at risk then; this is particularly true in North Africa. By 2050 the population at risk for increase water stress, inadequate access to good quality for house hold use and agriculture could rise to 350-600 Million (IPCC, 2007).

Increased disease, global warming is likely to threaten human health, causes increased in number and spread of invasive and pests species like trypanosome in central Africa, more frequent lift valley fever in East Africa, an increase in water bone and vector bone diseases .Malaria existed in West Africa but due to climate change Malaria transmission will shift from Coastal West Africa to an area in a central Africa, Congo and Uganda (Africa high lands). Increase rainfall in East Africa will increase the land area where Malaria is endemic. Currently Malaria kills about 900,000 people annually in Africa, 70% of them children (IPCC, 2007). However pregnant women and children are likely to be affected by climate change because of their greater vulnerability to heat, infectious diseases and inadequate food.

Shift in range of some species and biodiversity loss, the climate change is starting to affect the biodiversity of Africa with species moving their ranges as climate shift (Foden et al, 2007). Temperature increase, drought and flood, acidic rainfall and diseases lead to the shift in range of some species, extinction of vulnerable species and change in communities of both terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals. Climate change impacts are dramatic in some of the drier parts of Africa such as North-Eastern Africa, Western Sahel and parts of South-Western Africa, migratory species dependent on seasonal wetland. Also the changes in Africa ecosystem are already seen in Southern Africa about 25-40% of mammals species in National parks in Sub-Saharan Africa may become endangered in 21 century (IPCC, 2007).  With a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature Africa may lose 30 percent of its animals and plant (Smith, 2014).

Diminished agriculture with increased hunger, crop growth and production is severely affected in many African countries due to climate change. The reduction of ecosystem such as land size caused by alteration of spatial and temporal pattern of temperature, rainfall, solar insolation and winds lead to poor crop production. Loss of rainfall may be severe in some areas especially in semi-arid areas. IPCC, 2007 report projected to see a shortening of growing season of more than 20% by 2050, where large area of land may be forced out of production. In South Africa, temperature is expected to rise over the next 50 years and rainfall is expected to become less regular and unpredictable hence the production of Agriculture is expected to take a large hit, which in turn will result a significant effects in an ecosystem.

Coastal and ocean degradation, Coastal and Ocean are projected to be affected due to increase of oceanic temperature and change of nature of rainfall. Sea level is rising at about 1 Millimeter peryear, which in turn causes loss of inshore, coral reefs and mangrove forest. This degradation will lead to catastrophes to marine animals.

Generally, climate change is a global problem, and is likely to exert negative effects to both developing countries and developed ones. Therefore, there is a great need for all countries to unit and join together to minimize the cause of climate change. There should be measures such as imposition of tax to nations with large industrial emissions, encourage afforestation and reforestation among countries in the world, the use of friendly energy resources and the discovery of engine that will totally burn  the fuel.


Chapin F. Stuart, Harold A. Mooney (2002). Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology.New York: Springer.

Dallas HF, Rivers-Moore N, Ecological Consequences of Global Climate Change for Fresh Water Ecosystem in South Africa. South Africa J. 2014.Scarborogh.

Inter-governmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report of 2007 AND 2016.

The stage of Biodiversity in Africa, Ms. Elizabeth Maruma&Kamar Yusuf published by Word Conservation and Monitoring Center (WCM) and United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) 2016. New York.

Post a Comment