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Huntingdon, United Kingdom

Willis S.G.,Durham University | Foden W.,University of Witwatersrand | Baker D.J.,Durham University | Belle E.,UNEP WCMC | And 15 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

To accommodate climate-driven changes in biological communities, conservation plans are increasingly making use of models to predict species' responses to climate change. To date, species distribution models have been the most commonly used approach for assessing species' vulnerability to climate change. Biological trait-based approaches, which have emerged recently, and which include consideration of species' sensitivity and adaptive capacity, provide alternative and potentially conflicting vulnerability assessments and present conservation practitioners and planners with difficult choices. Here we discuss the differing objectives and strengths of the approaches, and provide guidance to conservation practitioners for their application. We outline an integrative methodological framework for assessing climate change impacts on species that uses both traditional species distribution modelling approaches and biological trait-based assessments. We show how these models can be used conceptually as inputs to guide conservation monitoring and planning. © 2015. Source


Gardner T.A.,University of Cambridge | Burgess N.D.,University of Cambridge | Burgess N.D.,Copenhagen University | Aguilar-Amuchastegui N.,WWF U.S. Conservation Science Program | And 19 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

The UNFCCC mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) represents an unprecedented opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity. Nevertheless, there are widespread concerns surrounding the possibility of negative environmental outcomes if biodiversity is not given adequate consideration throughout the REDD+ process. We propose a general framework for incorporating biodiversity concerns into national REDD+ programmes based on well-established ecological principles and experiences. First, we identify how biodiversity distribution and threat data, together with data on biodiversity responses to forest change and management, can be readily incorporated into the strategic planning process for REDD+ in order to identify priority areas and activities for investment that will deliver returns for both carbon and biodiversity. Second, we propose that assessments of changes in biodiversity following REDD+ implementation could be greatly facilitated by paralleling, where possible, the existing IPCC architecture for assessing carbon emissions. A three-tiered approach is proposed for biodiversity assessment, where lower tiers can provide a realistic starting point for countries with fewer data and lower technical capacities. Planning and assessment of biodiversity safeguards for REDD+ need not overburden an already encumbered UNFCCC process. Immediate progress is already possible for a large number of developing countries, and a gradual, phased approach to implementation would minimise risks and facilitate the protection of additional biodiversity benefits from REDD+ activities. Greater levels of coordination between the UNFCCC and CBD, as well as other agencies and stakeholder groups interested in forest conservation are needed if biodiversity safeguards are to be fully adopted and implemented. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Ockendon N.,British Trust for Ornithology | Baker D.J.,British Trust for Ornithology | Baker D.J.,Durham University | Carr J.A.,IUCN Global Species Programme | And 14 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Shifts in species' distribution and abundance in response to climate change have been well documented, but the underpinning processes are still poorly understood. We present the results of a systematic literature review and meta-analysis investigating the frequency and importance of different mechanisms by which climate has impacted natural populations. Most studies were from temperate latitudes of North America and Europe; almost half investigated bird populations. We found significantly greater support for indirect, biotic mechanisms than direct, abiotic mechanisms as mediators of the impact of climate on populations. In addition, biotic effects tended to have greater support than abiotic factors in studies of species from higher trophic levels. For primary consumers, the impact of climate was equally mediated by biotic and abiotic mechanisms, whereas for higher level consumers the mechanisms were most frequently biotic, such as predation or food availability. Biotic mechanisms were more frequently supported in studies that reported a directional trend in climate than in studies with no such climatic change, although sample sizes for this comparison were small. We call for more mechanistic studies of climate change impacts on populations, particularly in tropical systems. © 2014 John Wiley Sons Ltd. Source


Ficetola G.F.,University of Milan Bicocca | Rondinini C.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Bonardi A.,University of Milan Bicocca | Katariya V.,IUCN Global Species Programme | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2014

Aim: Maps of species ranges are among the most frequently used distribution data in biodiversity studies. As with any biological data, range maps have some level of measurement error, but this error is rarely quantified. We assessed the error associated with amphibian range maps by comparing them with point locality data. Location: Global. Methods: The maps published by the Global Amphibian Assessment were assessed against two data sets of species point localities: the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and a refined data set including recently published, high-quality presence data from both GBIF and other sources. Range fit was measured as the proportion of presence records falling within the range polygon(s) for each species. Results: Using the high-quality point data provided better fit measures than using the raw GBIF data. Range fit was highly variable among continents, being highest for North American and European species (a fit of 84-94%), and lowest for Asian and South American species (a fit of 57-64%). At the global scale, 95% of amphibian point records were inside the ranges published in maps, or within 31 km of the range edge. However, differences among continents were striking, and more points were found far from range edges for South American and Asian species. Main conclusions: The Global Amphibian Assessment range maps represent the known distribution of most amphibians well; this study provides measures of accuracy that can be useful for future research using amphibian maps as baseline data. Nevertheless, there is a need for greater investment in the continuous updating and improvement of maps, particularly in the megadiverse areas of tropical Asia and South America. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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