Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

Georgia Climate Project: How ecosystem services will be impacted by changing climate

This week’s Georgia Climate Project Roadmap question is from the section on ecosystems in Georgia. These ecosystems provide value to us as humans by providing benefits such as clean water and food. Because of that, it is important for us to understand how climate change is affecting these ecosystems and the services they provide. Remember that all of the Roadmap questions can be found at https://roadmap.georgiaclimateproject.org.

10. What ecosystem services are most at risk in Georgia due to climate change?

Why this question is important: Ecosystem services are the ecological goods and services that benefit humans (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment 2005): some type of ecological product or service (e.g., water purification, carbon storage, food, timber, recreational opportunity, preservation of endangered species) must provide direct value to humans. Tenuous links often exist between environmental stressors caused by climate change, changes in ecological structure and function, the production of valued ecosystem services, and the economic value of those services to diverse citizens and stakeholders (Balvanera et al. 2006; Weitzman 2012; Hejnowicz and Rudd 2017). In Georgia, further research is required to categorize ecosystem services that provide benefits to humans while assessing the risks they face due to climate change.