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Keywords:

  • Amphibians;
  • birds;
  • climate change;
  • connectivity;
  • corridors;
  • mammals;
  • movement;
  • range shifts

Abstract

Historically, many species moved great distances as climates changed. However, modern movements will be limited by the patterns of human-dominated landscapes. Here, we use a combination of projected climate-driven shifts in the distributions of 2903 vertebrate species, estimated current human impacts on the landscape, and movement models, to determine through which areas in the western hemisphere species will likely need to move to track suitable climates. Our results reveal areas with projected high densities of climate-driven movements – including, the Amazon Basin, the southeastern United States and southeastern Brazil. Some of these regions, such as southern Bolivia and northern Paraguay, contain relatively intact landscapes, whereas others such as the southeastern United States and Brazil are heavily impacted by human activities. Thus, these results highlight both critical areas for protecting lands that will foster movement, and barriers where human land-use activities will likely impede climate-driven shifts in species distributions.