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Habitat-Based Conservation Strategies Cannot Compensate for Climate-Change-Induced Range Loss

October 10, 2017 |

This paper was originally published in Nature

Abstract: Anthropogenic habitat fragmentation represents a major obstacle to species shifting their range in response to climate change1. Conservation measures to increase the (meta-)population capacity2 and permeability of landscapes3 may help but the effectiveness of such measures in a warming climate has rarely been evaluated.

Here, we simulate range dynamics of 51 species from three taxonomic groups (vascular plants, butterflies and grasshoppers) in Central Europe as driven by twenty-first-century climate scenarios and analyse how three habitat-based conservation strategies (establishing corridors, improving the landscape matrix, and protected area management) modify species’ projected range size changes. These simulations suggest that the conservation strategies considered are unable to save species from regional extinction.

For those persisting, they reduce the magnitude of range loss in lowland but not in alpine species. Protected area management and corridor establishment are more effective than matrix improvement. However, none of the conservation strategies evaluated could fully compensate the negative impact of climate change for vascular plants, butterflies or grasshoppers in central Europe…”

Read on and access the full paper at: Nature.

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