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

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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.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biogeography and Conservation Laboratory, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom 2: Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 1919 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A. 3: National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-5504, U.S.A. 4: Climate Change Research Group, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, National Botanical Institute, P/Bag x7, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa 5: Zoology Department, University of Toronto, Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada 6: Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City 04510, Mexico

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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