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Connectivity Planning to Address Climate Change

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Abstract

As the climate changes, human land use may impede species from tracking areas with suitable climates. Maintaining connectivity between areas of different temperatures could allow organisms to move along temperature gradients and allow species to continue to occupy the same temperature space as the climate warms. We used a coarse‐filter approach to identify broad corridors for movement between areas where human influence is low while simultaneously routing the corridors along present‐day spatial gradients of temperature. We modified a cost–distance algorithm to model these corridors and tested the model with data on current land‐use and climate patterns in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The resulting maps identified a network of patches and corridors across which species may move as climates change. The corridors are likely to be robust to uncertainty in the magnitude and direction of future climate change because they are derived from gradients and land‐use patterns. The assumptions we applied in our model simplified the stability of temperature gradients and species responses to climate change and land use, but the model is flexible enough to be tailored to specific regions by incorporating other climate variables or movement costs. When used at appropriate resolutions, our approach may be of value to local, regional, and continental conservation initiatives seeking to promote species movements in a changing climate.

Planificación de Conectividad para Atender el Cambio Climático
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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