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Protected areas act as a buffer against detrimental effects of climate change—Evidence from large-scale, long-term abundance data

Lehikoinen, Petteri LU ; Santangeli, Andrea ; Jaatinen, Kim ; Rajasärkkä, Ari and Lehikoinen, Aleksi LU (2019) In Global Change Biology 25(1). p.304-313
Abstract

Climate change is driving species to shift their distributions toward high altitudes and latitudes, while habitat loss and fragmentation may hamper species ability to follow their climatic envelope. These two drivers of change may act in synergy, with particularly disastrous impacts on biodiversity. Protected areas, PAs, may thus represent crucial buffers against the compounded effects of climate change and habitat loss. However, large-scale studies assessing the performance of PAs as such buffers remain scarce and are largely based on species occurrence data. Conversely, abundance data have proven to be more reliable for addressing changes in wildlife populations under climate change. We evaluated changes in bird abundance from the... (More)

Climate change is driving species to shift their distributions toward high altitudes and latitudes, while habitat loss and fragmentation may hamper species ability to follow their climatic envelope. These two drivers of change may act in synergy, with particularly disastrous impacts on biodiversity. Protected areas, PAs, may thus represent crucial buffers against the compounded effects of climate change and habitat loss. However, large-scale studies assessing the performance of PAs as such buffers remain scarce and are largely based on species occurrence data. Conversely, abundance data have proven to be more reliable for addressing changes in wildlife populations under climate change. We evaluated changes in bird abundance from the 1970s–80s to the 2000s inside and outside PAs at the trailing range edge of 30 northern bird species and at the leading range edge of 70 southern species. Abundances of retracting northern species were higher and declined less inside PAs at their trailing range edge. The positive effect of PAs on bird abundances was particularly marked in northern species that rely strongly on PAs, that is, their density distribution is largely confined within PAs. These species were nearly absent outside PAs in the 2000s. The abundances of southern species were in general lower inside PAs and increased less from the 70s–80s to 2000s. Nonetheless, species with high reliance on PAs had much higher abundances inside than outside PAs in the 2000s. These results show that PAs are essential in mitigating the retraction of northern species, but also facilitate northward expansions of southern species highly reliant on PAs. Our study provides empirical evidence documenting the role of PAs in facilitating species to adjust to rapidly changing climatic conditions, thereby contributing to the mitigation of impending biodiversity loss. PAs may thus allow time for initiating wider conservation programs on currently unprotected land.

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author
; ; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
conservation biology, distribution area, global warming, habitat management, land use changes, monitoring
in
Global Change Biology
volume
25
issue
1
pages
304 - 313
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • pmid:30393928
  • scopus:85055922821
ISSN
1354-1013
DOI
10.1111/gcb.14461
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
baec735a-3bc1-4375-bf57-c0d62184008a
date added to LUP
2018-11-22 09:28:16
date last changed
2021-04-13 05:12:37
@article{baec735a-3bc1-4375-bf57-c0d62184008a,
  abstract     = {<p>Climate change is driving species to shift their distributions toward high altitudes and latitudes, while habitat loss and fragmentation may hamper species ability to follow their climatic envelope. These two drivers of change may act in synergy, with particularly disastrous impacts on biodiversity. Protected areas, PAs, may thus represent crucial buffers against the compounded effects of climate change and habitat loss. However, large-scale studies assessing the performance of PAs as such buffers remain scarce and are largely based on species occurrence data. Conversely, abundance data have proven to be more reliable for addressing changes in wildlife populations under climate change. We evaluated changes in bird abundance from the 1970s–80s to the 2000s inside and outside PAs at the trailing range edge of 30 northern bird species and at the leading range edge of 70 southern species. Abundances of retracting northern species were higher and declined less inside PAs at their trailing range edge. The positive effect of PAs on bird abundances was particularly marked in northern species that rely strongly on PAs, that is, their density distribution is largely confined within PAs. These species were nearly absent outside PAs in the 2000s. The abundances of southern species were in general lower inside PAs and increased less from the 70s–80s to 2000s. Nonetheless, species with high reliance on PAs had much higher abundances inside than outside PAs in the 2000s. These results show that PAs are essential in mitigating the retraction of northern species, but also facilitate northward expansions of southern species highly reliant on PAs. Our study provides empirical evidence documenting the role of PAs in facilitating species to adjust to rapidly changing climatic conditions, thereby contributing to the mitigation of impending biodiversity loss. PAs may thus allow time for initiating wider conservation programs on currently unprotected land.</p>},
  author       = {Lehikoinen, Petteri and Santangeli, Andrea and Jaatinen, Kim and Rajasärkkä, Ari and Lehikoinen, Aleksi},
  issn         = {1354-1013},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {304--313},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Global Change Biology},
  title        = {Protected areas act as a buffer against detrimental effects of climate change—Evidence from large-scale, long-term abundance data},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14461},
  doi          = {10.1111/gcb.14461},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2019},
}