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Climate change threatens the future viability of translocated populations

Bellis, JM, Maschinski, J, Bonnin, N, Bielby, J and Dalrymple, SE (2023) Climate change threatens the future viability of translocated populations. Diversity and Distributions. ISSN 1366-9516

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Open Access URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/d... (Published version)


The dynamic nature of climate change diminishes the effectiveness of static approaches to nature conservation. Areas that were once suitable for species may no longer be suitable, and areas that are suitable now, may be unsuitable in the future. Despite increasing global awareness of the threats posed by climate change, it remains poorly accounted for in conservation programmes, such as translocation. In this study, we project changes in climate suitability for populations of ectothermic species that have been successfully established through translocation efforts.

Biogeographical realms: Australasia, Holarctic, Palearctic and Nearctic.

We use species distribution models (SDMs) to project changes in macroclimatic suitability across 65 translocation recipient sites involving 38 ectothermic species. We consider optimistic (SSP126) and pessimistic (SSP370) scenarios of climate change for five general circulation models spanning three time horizons from 2021–2040 up to 2061–2080.

Our models predict that at least 74% of recipient sites are projected to decline in climate suitability, regardless of the SSP scenario or time horizon. While recipient site suitability, scaled from 0 to 1 (low–high), was typically very high (>0.75, 39% of sites) under baseline climate conditions (1960–2010), models project a marked shift towards low suitability climates (<0.25, 40% of sites) by the middle of the century (2041–2060) onwards under the more pessimistic scenario. Relative to species' ranges, recipient sites located closer to the equator are projected to experience the most significant declines in suitability.

Main Conclusions
Our results call for greater consideration of spatiotemporal factors during the recipient site selection process, so that translocated populations are more strategically placed for long-term persistence under climate change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 05 Environmental Sciences; 06 Biological Sciences; Ecology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2023 13:35
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 13:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/ddi.13795
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22044
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