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Examining current or future trade-offs for biodiversity conservation in north-eastern Australia

By April E. Reside, Jeremy VanDerWal, Atte Moilanen and Erin M. Graham

Abstract

With the high rate of ecosystem change already occurring and predicted to occur in the coming decades, long-term conservation has to account not only for current biodiversity but also for the biodiversity patterns anticipated for the future. The trade-offs between prioritising future biodiversity at the expense of current priorities must be understood to guide current conservation planning, but have been largely unexplored. To fill this gap, we compared the performance of four conservation planning solutions involving 662 vertebrate species in the Wet Tropics Natural Resource Management Cluster Region in north-eastern Australia. Input species data for the four planning solutions were: 1) current distributions; 2) projected distributions for 2055; 3) projected distributions for 2085; and 4) current, 2055 and 2085 projected distributions, and the connectivity between each of the three time periods for each species. The four planning solutions were remarkably similar (up to 85% overlap), suggesting that modelling for either current or future scenarios is sufficient for conversation planning for this region, with little obvious trade-off. Our analyses also revealed that overall, species with small ranges occurring across steep elevation gradients and at higher elevations were more likely to be better represented in all solutions. Given that species with these characteristics are of high conservation significance, our results provide confidence that conservation planning focused on either current, near-or distant-future biodiversity will account for these species

Topics: CLIMATE-CHANGE, SPECIES DISTRIBUTIONS, PROTECTED AREAS, REGRESSION TREES, BIRDS, UNCERTAINTY, ABUNDANCE, DIVERSITY, SCENARIOS, INCREASE, 1172 Environmental sciences, CLIMATE-CHANGE, SPECIES DISTRIBUTIONS, PROTECTED AREAS, REGRESSION TREES, BIRDS, UNCERTAINTY, ABUNDANCE, DIVERSITY, SCENARIOS, INCREASE, 1172 Environmental sciences
Publisher: PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE
Year: 2017
OAI identifier: oai:helda.helsinki.fi:10138/180429
Journal:

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