Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate and Environment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2023) | Viewed by 44720

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0450, USA
Interests: earth system dynamics; climate change in high mountain systems; teleconnections; climate analysis; atmosphere–biosphere interactions; global change biology; biotic responses to climate change and variability; conservation planning in the context of climate change; ecosystem geography
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Guest Editor
Colorado Field Office, The Nature Conservancy, 2424 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
Interests: biodiversity conservation; conservation planning; addressing invasive species threats; climate change impacts to biodiversity; conservation strategies; rangeland ecology; land management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Uncertainty characterizes the near- and long-term futures of the biosphere. At risk is biodiversity across all levels—that is, in the composition, structure, and function of species genetics and populations, through to communities, ecosystems, and landscapes. This uncertainty arises from (1) climatic uncertainty due to climate system complexity and unknown future human forcings, (2) uncertainty in biospheric responses to climate due to complexity in ecological interactions across temporal and spatial scales, and (3) synergisms with other stressors. This presents a challenge for understanding the effects of rapid climate change on biodiversity and incorporating this threat in conservation planning and natural resource management, whose goals are to maintain biodiversity and with it intact ecosystem services on which our society and economies depend.

This Special Issue aims to explore three aspects of this problem:

  • Uncertainty that arises from Earth system dynamics—in particular, how these dynamics link to variability and change in continental and marine ecosystems.
  • The nature of the vulnerability of species and ecosystems to climate disruption.
  • Approaches for the conservation of biodiversity and management of natural resources in light of this vulnerability and climatic uncertainty.

We welcome papers on observational, experimental, or modeling studies and review papers that relate to these areas, including submissions on the following topics:

Climate Dynamics and the Biosphere –

  • Multivariate and multi-temporal/spatial scale nature of regional climate change;
  • Synoptic weather patterns and species biology;
  • Ocean–atmosphere oscillations and ecosystems (marine or continental);
  • Nonlinear dynamics (climatic, ecological)—e.g., regime shifts and tipping points;

Species Vulnerability –

  • Species adaptive capacity;
  • Microevolution;
  • Demographic processes;
  • Population viability;
  • Trophic cascades;
  • Food web disruption;
  • Phenological asynchrony;
  • Species range shifts;
  • Habitat resilience;
  • Barriers to dispersal;
  • Threat synergisms;

Ecosystem and Landscape Vulnerability –

  • Landscape processes;
  • Disturbance regime changes;
  • Biogeochemical cycle disruption;
  • Ecosystem resilience;
  • Ecological history;
  • Ecosystem services – aquatic (marine or freshwater) and terrestrial;
  • Mountain systems – e.g., linked and decoupled elevation-dependent responses;
Conservation Strategies –
  • Conservation strategies in an uncertain future;
  • Conservation planning incorporating climate change as a threat;
  • Vital resources monitoring strategies;
  • Adaptive management strategies;
  • Conservation of the physical nature of landscapes (“Enduring landscapes”);
  • Science communication – scientific uncertainty, policy-making, and adaptation

The Special Issue "Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation" is jointly organized between "Climate" and "Earth" journals. The Earth special issue can be found at: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/earth/special_issues/climate_biodiversity. You may choose to publish your papers in either journal's special issue.  Earth offers discounts or waivers for papers based on peer-review results.

Dr. Timothy G. F. Kittel
Ms. Terri Schulz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Climate is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Climate dynamics
  • Conservation biology
  • Conservation planning
  • Ecosystem services
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Land management
  • Species vulnerability

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

16 pages, 2568 KiB  
Article
Trees Diversity and Species with High Ecological Importance for a Resilient Urban Area: Evidence from Cotonou City (West Africa)
by Assouhan Jonas Atchadé, Madjouma Kanda, Fousseni Folega, Hounnankpon Yédomonhan, Marra Dourma, Kperkouma Wala and Koffi Akpagana
Climate 2023, 11(9), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli11090182 - 30 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Rapid urbanization and climate change effects may cause dramatic changes in ecosystem functions in cities, thereby inevitably affecting the growth performance of old trees. Few studies have explored species diversity and spatial differentiation in Benin urban areas. This study aims to explore this [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization and climate change effects may cause dramatic changes in ecosystem functions in cities, thereby inevitably affecting the growth performance of old trees. Few studies have explored species diversity and spatial differentiation in Benin urban areas. This study aims to explore this dimension of urban ecology in order to build resilience to climate change in the city of Cotonou. Its objective was to determine the predominant level of tree diversity in the city’s land use units. The urban green frame was subdivided into six land use units, namely, establishments, residences, green spaces, commercial areas, administrative areas, and roads. The forest inventories were carried out in 149 plots with surfaces evaluated at 2500 m2 each. The IVI, an index that highlights the relative density, relative dominance, and relative frequency of species, has been used to characterize the place occupied by each species in relation to all species in urban ecosystems. This shows ecological importance through the diversity and quality of ecosystems, communities, and species. A total of 62 tree species in 55 genera and 27 families were recorded. The results show that the flora of the city of Cotonou is characterized by a strong preponderance of exotic species with some differences in species presence. The most abundant species with high ecological importance (IVI) in the different types of land use of the city are Terminalia catappa (IVI = 121.47%), Terminalia mantaly (IVI = 90.50%), Mangifera indica (IVI = 64.06%), and Khaya senegalensis (IVI = 151.16%). As the use of ecosystem services is recommended to tackle urban climate hazards, this study shows that direct development of this urban vegetation could improve the resilience of urban life to climate hazards through the provision of urban ecosystem services, potential ecological infrastructure foundations, and urban nature-based solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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20 pages, 4398 KiB  
Article
Remarkable Resilience of Forest Structure and Biodiversity Following Fire in the Peri-Urban Bushland of Sydney, Australia
by Elise Pendall, Alison Hewitt, Matthias M. Boer, Yolima Carrillo, Nancy F. Glenn, Anne Griebel, Jason H. Middleton, Peter J. Mumford, Peter Ridgeway, Paul D. Rymer and Greg L. Steenbeeke
Climate 2022, 10(6), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli10060086 - 16 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3661
Abstract
In rapidly urbanizing areas, natural vegetation becomes fragmented, making conservation planning challenging, particularly as climate change accelerates fire risk. We studied urban forest fragments in two threatened eucalypt-dominated (scribbly gum woodland, SGW, and ironbark forest, IF) communities across ~2000 ha near Sydney, Australia, [...] Read more.
In rapidly urbanizing areas, natural vegetation becomes fragmented, making conservation planning challenging, particularly as climate change accelerates fire risk. We studied urban forest fragments in two threatened eucalypt-dominated (scribbly gum woodland, SGW, and ironbark forest, IF) communities across ~2000 ha near Sydney, Australia, to evaluate effects of fire frequency (0–4 in last 25 years) and time since fire (0.5 to >25 years) on canopy structure, habitat quality and biodiversity (e.g., species richness). Airborne lidar was used to assess canopy height and density, and ground-based surveys of 148 (400 m2) plots measured leaf area index (LAI), plant species composition and habitat metrics such as litter cover and hollow-bearing trees. LAI, canopy density, litter, and microbiotic soil crust increased with time since fire in both communities, while tree and mistletoe cover increased in IF. Unexpectedly, plant species richness increased with fire frequency, owing to increased shrub richness which offset decreased tree richness in both communities. These findings indicate biodiversity and canopy structure are generally resilient to a range of times since fire and fire frequencies across this study area. Nevertheless, reduced arboreal habitat quality and subtle shifts in community composition of resprouters and obligate seeders signal early concern for a scenario of increasing fire frequency under climate change. Ongoing assessment of fire responses is needed to ensure that biodiversity, canopy structure and ecosystem function are maintained in the remaining fragments of urban forests under future climate change which will likely drive hotter and more frequent fires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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28 pages, 2915 KiB  
Article
Uncertainty, Complexity and Constraints: How Do We Robustly Assess Biological Responses under a Rapidly Changing Climate?
by Imtiaz Rangwala, Wynne Moss, Jane Wolken, Renee Rondeau, Karen Newlon, John Guinotte and William Riebsame Travis
Climate 2021, 9(12), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9120177 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5269
Abstract
How robust is our assessment of impacts to ecosystems and species from a rapidly changing climate during the 21st century? We examine the challenges of uncertainty, complexity and constraints associated with applying climate projections to understanding future biological responses. This includes an [...] Read more.
How robust is our assessment of impacts to ecosystems and species from a rapidly changing climate during the 21st century? We examine the challenges of uncertainty, complexity and constraints associated with applying climate projections to understanding future biological responses. This includes an evaluation of how to incorporate the uncertainty associated with different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios and climate models, and constraints of spatiotemporal scales and resolution of climate data into impact assessments. We describe the challenges of identifying relevant climate metrics for biological impact assessments and evaluate the usefulness and limitations of different methodologies of applying climate change to both quantitative and qualitative assessments. We discuss the importance of incorporating extreme climate events and their stochastic tendencies in assessing ecological impacts and transformation, and provide recommendations for better integration of complex climate–ecological interactions at relevant spatiotemporal scales. We further recognize the compounding nature of uncertainty when accounting for our limited understanding of the interactions between climate and biological processes. Given the inherent complexity in ecological processes and their interactions with climate, we recommend integrating quantitative modeling with expert elicitation from diverse disciplines and experiential understanding of recent climate-driven ecological processes to develop a more robust understanding of ecological responses under different scenarios of future climate change. Inherently complex interactions between climate and biological systems also provide an opportunity to develop wide-ranging strategies that resource managers can employ to prepare for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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28 pages, 8566 KiB  
Article
Predicting the Geographic Range of an Invasive Livestock Disease across the Contiguous USA under Current and Future Climate Conditions
by Dylan Burruss, Luis L. Rodriguez, Barbara Drolet, Kerrie Geil, Angela M. Pelzel-McCluskey, Lee W. Cohnstaedt, Justin D. Derner and Debra P. C. Peters
Climate 2021, 9(11), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9110159 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3960
Abstract
Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is the most common vesicular livestock disease in North America. Transmitted by direct contact and by several biting insect species, this disease results in quarantines and animal movement restrictions in horses, cattle and swine. As changes in climate drive shifts [...] Read more.
Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is the most common vesicular livestock disease in North America. Transmitted by direct contact and by several biting insect species, this disease results in quarantines and animal movement restrictions in horses, cattle and swine. As changes in climate drive shifts in geographic distributions of vectors and the viruses they transmit, there is considerable need to improve understanding of relationships among environmental drivers and patterns of disease occurrence. Multidisciplinary approaches integrating pathology, ecology, climatology, and biogeophysics are increasingly relied upon to disentangle complex relationships governing disease. We used a big data model integration approach combined with machine learning to estimate the potential geographic range of VS across the continental United States (CONUS) under long-term mean climate conditions over the past 30 years. The current extent of VS is confined to the western portion of the US and is related to summer and winter precipitation, winter maximum temperature, elevation, fall vegetation biomass, horse density, and proximity to water. Comparison with a climate-only model illustrates the importance of current processes-based parameters and identifies regions where uncertainty is likely to be greatest if mechanistic processes change. We then forecast shifts in the range of VS using climate change projections selected from CMIP5 climate models that most realistically simulate seasonal temperature and precipitation. Climate change scenarios that altered climatic conditions resulted in greater changes to potential range of VS, generally had non-uniform impacts in core areas of the current potential range of VS and expanded the range north and east. We expect that the heterogeneous impacts of climate change across the CONUS will be exacerbated with additional changes in land use and land cover affecting biodiversity and hydrological cycles that are connected to the ecology of insect vectors involved in VS transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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25 pages, 6148 KiB  
Article
Drought Coincided with, but Does Not Explain, Late Holocene Megafauna Extinctions in SW Madagascar
by Sean W. Hixon, Jason H. Curtis, Mark Brenner, Kristina G. Douglass, Alejandra I. Domic, Brendan J. Culleton, Sarah J. Ivory and Douglas J. Kennett
Climate 2021, 9(9), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9090138 - 01 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3818
Abstract
Climate drying could have transformed ecosystems in southern Madagascar during recent millennia by contributing to the extinction of endemic megafauna. However, the extent of regional aridification during the past 2000 years is poorly known, as are the responses of endemic animals and economically [...] Read more.
Climate drying could have transformed ecosystems in southern Madagascar during recent millennia by contributing to the extinction of endemic megafauna. However, the extent of regional aridification during the past 2000 years is poorly known, as are the responses of endemic animals and economically important livestock to drying. We inferred ~1600 years of climate change around Lake Ranobe, SW Madagascar, using oxygen isotope analyses of monospecific freshwater ostracods (Bradleystrandesia cf. fuscata) and elemental analyses of lake core sediment. We inferred past changes in habitat and diet of introduced and extinct endemic megaherbivores using bone collagen stable isotope and 14C datasets (n = 63). Extinct pygmy hippos and multiple giant lemur species disappeared from the vicinity of Ranobe during a dry interval ~1000–700 cal yr BP, but the simultaneous appearance of introduced cattle, high charcoal concentrations, and other evidence of human activity confound inference of drought-driven extirpations. Unlike the endemic megafauna, relatively low collagen stable nitrogen isotope values among cattle suggest they survived dry intervals by exploiting patches of wet habitat. Although megafaunal extirpations coincided with drought in SW Madagascar, coupled data from bone and lake sediments do not support the hypothesis that extinct megafauna populations collapsed solely because of drought. Given that the reliance of livestock on mesic patches will become more important in the face of projected climate drying, we argue that sustainable conservation of spiny forests in SW Madagascar should support local livelihoods by ensuring that zebu have access to mesic habitat. Additionally, the current interactions between pastoralism and riparian habitats should be studied to help conserve the island’s biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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23 pages, 4524 KiB  
Article
Plant Species Richness in Multiyear Wet and Dry Periods in the Chihuahuan Desert
by Debra P. C. Peters, Heather M. Savoy, Susan Stillman, Haitao Huang, Amy R. Hudson, Osvaldo E. Sala and Enrique R. Vivoni
Climate 2021, 9(8), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9080130 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3882
Abstract
In drylands, most studies of extreme precipitation events examine effects of individual years or short-term events, yet multiyear periods (>3 y) are expected to have larger impacts on ecosystem dynamics. Our goal was to take advantage of a sequence of multiple long-term (4-y) [...] Read more.
In drylands, most studies of extreme precipitation events examine effects of individual years or short-term events, yet multiyear periods (>3 y) are expected to have larger impacts on ecosystem dynamics. Our goal was to take advantage of a sequence of multiple long-term (4-y) periods (dry, wet, average) that occurred naturally within a 26-y time frame to examine responses of plant species richness to extreme rainfall in grasslands and shrublands of the Chihuahuan Desert. Our hypothesis was that richness would be related to rainfall amount, and similar in periods with similar amounts of rainfall. Breakpoint analyses of water-year precipitation showed five sequential periods (1993–2018): AVG1 (mean = 22 cm/y), DRY1 (mean = 18 cm/y), WET (mean = 30 cm/y), DRY2 (mean = 18 cm/y), and AVG2 (mean = 24 cm/y). Detailed analyses revealed changes in daily and seasonal metrics of precipitation over the course of the study: the amount of nongrowing season precipitation decreased since 1993, and summer growing season precipitation increased through time with a corresponding increase in frequency of extreme rainfall events. This increase in summer rainfall could explain the general loss in C3 species after the wet period at most locations through time. Total species richness in the wet period was among the highest in the five periods, with the deepest average storm depth in the summer and the fewest long duration (>45 day) dry intervals across all seasons. For other species-ecosystem combinations, two richness patterns were observed. Compared to AVG2, AVG1 had lower water-year precipitation yet more C3 species in upland grasslands, creosotebush, and mesquite shrublands, and more C4 perennial grasses in tarbush shrublands. AVG1 also had larger amounts of rainfall and more large storms in fall and spring with higher mean depths of storm and lower mean dry-day interval compared with AVG2. While DRY1 and DRY2 had the same amount of precipitation, DRY2 had more C4 species than DRY1 in creosote bush shrublands, and DRY1 had more C3 species than DRY2 in upland grasslands. Most differences in rainfall between these periods occurred in the summer. Legacy effects were observed for C3 species in upland grasslands where no significant change in richness occurred from DRY1 to WET compared with a 41% loss of species from the WET to DRY2 period. The opposite asymmetry pattern was found for C4 subdominant species in creosote bush and mesquite shrublands, where an increase in richness occurred from DRY1 to WET followed by no change in richness from WET to DRY2. Our results show that understanding plant biodiversity of Chihuahuan Desert landscapes as precipitation continues to change will require daily and seasonal metrics of rainfall within a wet-dry period paradigm, as well as a consideration of species traits (photosynthetic pathways, lifespan, morphologies). Understanding these relationships can provide insights into predicting species-level dynamics in drylands under a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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28 pages, 5610 KiB  
Article
Landscape Conservation Forecasting for Data-Poor at-Risk Species on Western Public Lands, United States
by Louis Provencher, Kevin Badik, Tanya Anderson, Joel Tuhy, Dan Fletcher, Elaine York and Sarah Byer
Climate 2021, 9(5), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9050079 - 11 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2926
Abstract
Managing vast federal public lands governed by multiple land use policies creates challenges when demographic data on at-risk species are lacking. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office used this project in the Black Mountains (Utah) to inform vegetation management [...] Read more.
Managing vast federal public lands governed by multiple land use policies creates challenges when demographic data on at-risk species are lacking. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office used this project in the Black Mountains (Utah) to inform vegetation management supporting at-risk greater sage-grouse and Utah prairie dog planning. Ecological systems were mapped from satellite remote sensing imagery and used to model species habitat suitability under two levels of management activity (custodial, preferred) and climate scenarios for historic and two global circulation models. Spatial state-and-transition models of ecological systems were simulated for all six scenarios up to 60 years while coupled with expert-developed habitat suitability indices. All ecological systems are at least moderately departed from reference conditions in 2012, whereas habitat suitability was 50.5% and 48.4% for sage-grouse and prairie dog, respectively. Management actions replaced non-native annual grasslands with perennial grasses, removed conifers, and controlled exotic forbs. The drier climate most affected ecological departure and prairie dog habitat suitability at 30 years only. Different climates influenced spatial patterns of sage-grouse habitat suitability, but nonspatial values were unchanged. Climate impacts on fire, vegetation succession, and restoration explain many results. Front-loading restoration is predicted to benefit under future drier climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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Review

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28 pages, 5479 KiB  
Review
Using the Conservation Standards Framework to Address the Effects of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
by Marcia B. Brown, John C. Morrison, Terri T. Schulz, Molly S. Cross, Nicole Püschel-Hoeneisen, Varsha Suresh and Antonieta Eguren
Climate 2022, 10(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli10020013 - 22 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 8075
Abstract
Climate change has challenged biodiversity conservation practitioners and planners. In this paper, we provide scalable guidance on integrating climate change into conservation planning and adaptive management that results in the most appropriate conservation strategies. This integrated “Climate-Smart Conservation Practice” focuses on analyzing the [...] Read more.
Climate change has challenged biodiversity conservation practitioners and planners. In this paper, we provide scalable guidance on integrating climate change into conservation planning and adaptive management that results in the most appropriate conservation strategies. This integrated “Climate-Smart Conservation Practice” focuses on analyzing the potential impact of climate change on species, ecosystems, and ecosystem services, combined with “conventional” (non-climate) threats, and incorporating this knowledge into projects. The guidance is based on the already widely-used “Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation”, an application of systems thinking and adaptive management, which has been successfully applied to thousands of conservation projects. Our framework emphasizes a methodical analysis of climate change impacts for projects to support more productive goals and strategy development. We provide two case studies showing the applicability and flexibility of this framework. An initial key element is developing “situation models” that document both current and future threats affecting biodiversity while showing the interactions between climate and conventional threats. Guidance is also provided on how to design integrated, climate-smart goals and strategies, and detailed theories of change for selected strategies. The information and suggestions presented are intended to break down the steps to make the process more approachable, provide guidance to teams using climate change information within a systematic conservation planning process, and demonstrate how climate scientists can provide appropriate information to conservation planners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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24 pages, 2010 KiB  
Review
Do Invasive Mammal Eradications from Islands Support Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation?
by Peter J. Kappes, Cassandra E. Benkwitt, Dena R. Spatz, Coral A. Wolf, David J. Will and Nick D. Holmes
Climate 2021, 9(12), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9120172 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3997
Abstract
Climate change represents a planetary emergency that is exacerbating the loss of native biodiversity. In response, efforts promoting climate change adaptation strategies that improve ecosystem resilience and/or mitigate climate impacts are paramount. Invasive Alien Species are a key threat to islands globally, where [...] Read more.
Climate change represents a planetary emergency that is exacerbating the loss of native biodiversity. In response, efforts promoting climate change adaptation strategies that improve ecosystem resilience and/or mitigate climate impacts are paramount. Invasive Alien Species are a key threat to islands globally, where strategies such as preventing establishment (biosecurity), and eradication, especially invasive mammals, have proven effective for reducing native biodiversity loss and can also advance ecosystem resilience and create refugia for native species at risk from climate change. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that successful eradications may also contribute to mitigating climate change. Given the cross-sector potential for eradications to reduce climate impacts alongside native biodiversity conservation, we sought to understand when conservation managers and funders explicitly sought to use or fund the eradication of invasive mammals from islands to achieve positive climate outcomes. To provide context, we first summarized available literature of the synergistic relationship between invasive species and climate change, including case studies where invasive mammal eradications served to meet climate adaptation or mitigation solutions. Second, we conducted a systematic review of the literature and eradication-related conference proceedings to identify when these synergistic effects of climate and invasive species were explicitly addressed through eradication practices. Third, we reviewed projects from four large funding entities known to support climate change solutions and/or native biodiversity conservation efforts and identified when eradications were funded in a climate change context. The combined results of our case study summary paired with systematic reviews found that, although eradicating invasive mammals from islands is an effective climate adaptation strategy, island eradications are poorly represented within the climate change adaptation and mitigation funding framework. We believe this is a lost opportunity and encourage eradication practitioners and funders of climate change adaptation to leverage this extremely effective nature-based tool into positive conservation and climate resilience solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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16 pages, 1595 KiB  
Review
Climate Change, Ecosystem Processes and Biological Diversity Responses in High Elevation Communities
by Timothy R. Seastedt and Meagan F. Oldfather
Climate 2021, 9(5), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9050087 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5219
Abstract
The populations, species, and communities in high elevation mountainous regions at or above tree line are being impacted by the changing climate. Mountain systems have been recognized as both resilient and extremely threatened by climate change, requiring a more nuanced understanding of potential [...] Read more.
The populations, species, and communities in high elevation mountainous regions at or above tree line are being impacted by the changing climate. Mountain systems have been recognized as both resilient and extremely threatened by climate change, requiring a more nuanced understanding of potential trajectories of the biotic communities. For high elevation systems in particular, we need to consider how the interactions among climate drivers and topography currently structure the diversity, species composition, and life-history strategies of these communities. Further, predicting biotic responses to changing climate requires knowledge of intra- and inter-specific climate associations within the context of topographically heterogenous landscapes. Changes in temperature, snow, and rain characteristics at regional scales are amplified or attenuated by slope, aspect, and wind patterns occurring at local scales that are often under a hectare or even a meter in extent. Community assemblages are structured by the soil moisture and growing season duration at these local sites, and directional climate change has the potential to alter these two drivers together, independently, or in opposition to one another due to local, intervening variables. Changes threaten species whose water and growing season duration requirements are locally extirpated or species who may be outcompeted by nearby faster-growing, warmer/drier adapted species. However, barring non-analogue climate conditions, species may also be able to more easily track required resource regimes in topographically heterogenous landscapes. New species arrivals composed of competitors, predators and pathogens can further mediate the direct impacts of the changing climate. Plants are moving uphill, demonstrating primary succession with the emergence of new habitats from snow and rock, but these shifts are constrained over the short term by soil limitations and microbes and ultimately by the lack of colonizable terrestrial surfaces. Meanwhile, both subalpine herbaceous and woody species pose threats to more cold-adapted species. Overall, the multiple interacting direct and indirect effects of the changing climate on high elevation systems may lead to multiple potential trajectories for these systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate System Uncertainty and Biodiversity Conservation)
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