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Planning for Climate Change: Identifying Minimum-Dispersal Corridors for the Cape Proteaceae

Authors

  • PAUL WILLIAMS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biogeography and Conservation Laboratory, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
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  • LEE HANNAH,

    1. Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 1919 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A.
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  • SANDY ANDELMAN,

    1. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-5504, U.S.A.
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  • GUY MIDGLEY,

    1. Climate Change Research Group, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, National Botanical Institute, P/Bag x7, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • MIGUEL ARAÚJO,

    1. Biogeography and Conservation Laboratory, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
    2. Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, 1A Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3SZ, United Kingdom
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  • GREG HUGHES,

    1. Climate Change Research Group, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, National Botanical Institute, P/Bag x7, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • LISA MANNE,

    1. Zoology Department, University of Toronto, Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada
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  • ENRIQUE MARTINEZ-MEYER,

    1. Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
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  • RICHARD PEARSON

    1. Zoology Department, University of Toronto, Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada
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Abstract

Abstract:  Climate change poses a challenge to the conventional approach to biodiversity conservation, which relies on fixed protected areas, because the changing climate is expected to shift the distribution of suitable areas for many species. Some species will persist only if they can colonize new areas, although in some cases their dispersal abilities may be very limited. To address this problem we devised a quantitative method for identifying multiple corridors of connectivity through shifting habitat suitabilities that seeks to minimize dispersal demands first and then the area of land required. We applied the method to Proteaceae mapped on a 1-minute grid for the western part of the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa, to supplement the existing protected areas, using Worldmap software. Our goal was to represent each species in at least 35 grid cells (approximately 100 km2) at all times between 2000 and 2050 despite climate change. Although it was possible to achieve the goal at reasonable cost, caution will be needed in applying our method to reserves or other conservation investments until there is further information to support or refine the climate-change models and the species' habitat-suitability and dispersal models.

Abstract

Resumen:  El cambio climático representa un reto para la estrategia tradicional de la conservación de la biodiversidad que se basa en áreas protegidas fijas, porque se espera que el cambio climático cambie la distribución de áreas adecuadas para muchas especies. Algunas especies solo persistirán si pueden colonizar nuevas áreas, aunque sus aptitudes dispersoras pueden ser muy limitadas en algunos casos. Para abordar este problema ideamos un método cuantitativo para identificar múltiples corredores de conectividad en hábitats con diferentes aptitudes que primero busca minimizar las demandas de dispersión y el área requerida después. Utilizamos software Worlmap para aplicar el método a Proteaceae en un mapa con cuadrícula de un minuto de la parte occidental de la región Florística del cabo en Sudáfrica, un área que suplementa a las áreas protegidas existentes. Nuestra meta era representar cada especie presente en al menos 35 celdas (aproximadamente 100 km2) entre 2000 y 2050 a pesar del cambio climático. Aunque era posible alcanzar la meta con un costo razonable, se requiere precaución al aplicar nuestro método en reservas u otras inversiones de conservación hasta que haya más información para sustentar o refinar los modelos de cambio climático y los modelos de aptitud del hábitat y de dispersión de especies.

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