Space-time continuum and conservation planning: Helping Species Adapt to Climate Change

Post provided by Diogo André Alagador

The world’s most threatened felid (Iberian lynx) is endemic in a region predicted to be severely impacted by climate change: the Iberian Peninsula. ©lynxexsitu.es

The world’s most threatened felid (Iberian lynx) is from a region predicted to be severely impacted by climate change: the Iberian Peninsula. ©lynxexsitu.es

Climate change is driving many species to alter their geographic distributions. The ranges of some species contract, expand or shift as individuals track favorable climate conditions. In some cases, threatened species are moving out of protected areas. These trends are expected to intensify in the coming years.

To increase conservation effectiveness within protected areas in the future, researchers at the Research Center on Biodiversity and Genetic Resources at the University of Évora and the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology from the NOVA University in Lisbon, Portugal, have come up with a set of modelling tools to optimize the scheduling of conservation area allocation as the climate changes. These take into account restrictions of conservation area expansion derived from the prevailing socio-economic activities. “The objective is to select the best dispersal corridors for each species considering a budget restriction or competition with other socioeconomic activities” said Diogo Alagador. “These selections are complex and non-trivial as they incorporate decisions on the spatial and temporal trends of large sets of species.”

The concept of a spatio-temporal corridor for a species in an environmental heterogeneous region.

The concept of a spatio-temporal corridor for a species in an environmental heterogeneous region.

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