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Keywords:

  • Climate change;
  • impacts;
  • biodiversity;
  • agriculture;
  • water resources;
  • health

Abstract

The developing nations of southern Africa have previously been identified as vulnerable to the vagaries of global change, particularly in terms of future climate change. This paper explores recent climate change scenarios for the region in terms of some representative sectors of the environment-society interface, namely biodiversity, agriculture and related land uses, water resources and health issues. It is concluded that the impacts of predicted climate changes over the next century are likely to be very marked indeed. Biome distribution, agriculture, rangelands and water resources are highlighted as being negatively impacted in ways that will increase the vulnerability of the great majority of the region's population to natural hazards. The potential impact of these changes on the prolific biodiversity of southern Africa is clear. Holistic policy responses, incorporating both environmental and human development concerns, are required in the near future if a crisis is to be averted.