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Mapping environments at risk under different global climate change scenarios

Authors

  • Earl Saxon,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 1919 M St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
      2 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 2424 Spruce St., Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
      3 Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PO Box 2008, M. S. 6407, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA
      E-mail: esaxon@tnc.org
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  • Barry Baker,

    1. 1 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 1919 M St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
      2 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 2424 Spruce St., Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
      3 Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PO Box 2008, M. S. 6407, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA
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  • William Hargrove,

    1. 1 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 1919 M St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
      2 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 2424 Spruce St., Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
      3 Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PO Box 2008, M. S. 6407, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Forrest Hoffman,

    1. 1 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 1919 M St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
      2 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 2424 Spruce St., Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
      3 Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PO Box 2008, M. S. 6407, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Chris Zganjar

    1. 1 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 1919 M St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
      2 TNC-CI Joint Initiative on Climate Change & Conservation, 2424 Spruce St., Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
      3 Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PO Box 2008, M. S. 6407, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

E-mail: esaxon@tnc.org

Abstract

All global circulation models based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios project profound changes, but there is no consensus on how to map their environmental consequences. Our multivariate representation of environmental space combines stable topographic and edaphic attributes with dynamic climatic attributes. We divide that environmental space into 500 unique domains and map their current locations and their projected locations in 2100 under contrasting emissions scenarios. The environmental domains found across half the study area today disappear under the higher emissions scenario, but persist somewhere in it under the lower emissions scenario. Locations affected least and those affected most under each scenario are mapped. This provides an explicit framework for designing conservation networks to include both areas at least risk (potential refugia) and areas at greatest risk, where novel communities may form and where sentinel ecosystems can be monitored for signs of stress.

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