London: When it comes to climate change, prevention is better than cure as even measures taken to adapt to climate change may lead to new environmental problems, a research has found.
The new research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, revealed that adaptation measures have the potential to generate further pressures and threats for both local and global ecosystems.
"Climate change is just a little bit more complicated than we previously thought," said lead researcher Carlo Fezzi from the University of East Anglia in Britain.
"We need to take into account not only the direct impact of climate change, but also how people will respond to such change - the impact of adaptation," Fezzi added.
The researchers studied land use and river quality from more than half a million records covering the whole of Britain, and dating back to the early 1970s.
They used computer models to predict not only how climate change would lead to agricultural changes, but how these agricultural changes would impact water quality.
"This intensification in agricultural practices, in response to climate change, will also create new environmental pressures," Fezzi said.
For example, changes in the agricultural sector will have a knock-on effect for water quality because they will cause increased amounts of nitrates and phosphates in streams and rivers, Fezzi added.
But the problem is not restricted to water quality. Adaptation may have an impact on water availability, wildlife, biodiversity, carbon policies and the amount of recreation space, the study said.
However, the researchers said that this does not mean that adaptation is bad and that we should develop policies to discourage it.
"That would be very short-sighted," it added.
"But we should make sure we adapt in an environmentally sustainable way," Fezzi said.