Desnianskyi Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserve Desnyanskyi

Roztochya Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserve Roztochya

Shatskyi Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserve Shatskyi

Challenges

Temperature Anomaly June 2019 © DWD 26-07-2019

In Ukraine, climate change already is and increasingly will negatively impact ecological, socio-economic, and political systems and severely alter the cultural landscapes. Human well-being and the welfare of communities are at stake.

Climate change in Ukraine causes alterations in temperature, precipitation, and an increase in extreme weather events. The risks and negative impacts on ecosystems and humans alike include, for example, drying of lakes and wetlands, damage to forests by heat stress and insect calamities, as well as disasters (flooding, storms, forest and agricultural wildfires, etc.)

Besides, unsustainable land use practices contribute to climate change, put pressure on the ecosystems, and make them more vulnerable. For instance, intense agricultural and forestry activities lead to the degradation of soils and decline in biomass, which in healthy conditions retain higher amounts of water and sequester carbon. Additionally, climate change leads to higher rates of evaporation and transpiration accelerating water loss and degradation.

 
Water retention and cooling function – crucial services by healthy forests © P. Ibisch

In summary, climate change is the millennium-challenge for the survival of many species, putting the human being in a position of responsibility to take adequate action. It is not only an ethical question regarding other beings and future generations but also one of our own, current well-being. Adaptation is needed for the protection and recovery of the Ukrainian biosphere and its ecosystem services. It is fundamental for sustainable social and economic development. Climate change threatens to offset actions aiming at the Sustainable Development Goals, especially the ones not within the scope of ecosystem-based solutions.

At risk are essential supporting ecological functions like water cycling (water retention, evaporation, etc.), productivity and procreation (photosynthesis, primary production, etc.), physical work (shading, wind speed reduction, filtration of air and water, etc.), nutrient cycling (decay, humus and soil formation), and the corresponding ecosystem services.