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S. Korea names 100 biological species as indicators of climate change

All Headlines 10:42 July 25, 2010

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- A government think tank said Sunday it has designated 100 indigenous species on the Korean Peninsula as being highly sensitive to the warming weather, highlighting the negative effects of climate change.

The Climate-sensitive Biological Indicator Species includes plants, animals and other living organisms that may become extinct or whose habitats have dramatically changed as a result of climate change in the region, said the National Institute of Biological Resources.

"By effectively monitoring and forecasting the change of organism diversity on the Korean Peninsula, (the index) will help the species improve their adaptation abilities in face of climate change and preserve and manage indigenous organism resources in the region," the Seoul-based think tank explained in a press release.

The index consists of 18 vertebrates, 28 invertebrates, 44 plants and 10 species of fungus and marine algae, all native to the Korean Peninsula. They include alpine plants such as Abies koreana and Primula modesta, which face the threat of extinction if global warming continues, and Haliotis japonica, a mollusk that originally lived in waters around the semi-tropical island of Jeju, but has since been expanding its habitat northward, the think tank said.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the climate has been warming on the Korean Peninsula twice more rapidly than in the rest of the world over the past century. The annual temperature on the peninsula rose 1.7 C in the 1912-2008 period, while the world averaged 0.74 C, the weather watchdog said. The length of winter has also shortened by more than a month, while summer has been extended by about two weeks.


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