Limits...
Climate change threatens European conservation areas.

AraΓΊjo MB, Alagador D, Cabeza M, NoguΓ©s-Bravo D, Thuiller W - Ecol. Lett. (2011)

Bottom Line: Conservation areas are selected without taking into account the effects of climate change.How effectively would such areas conserve biodiversity under climate change?Protected areas are expected to retain climatic suitability for species better than unprotected areas (P < 0.001), but Natura 2000 areas retain climate suitability for species no better and sometimes less effectively than unprotected areas.

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Affiliation: Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, 28006, Madrid, Spain. maraujo@mncn.csic.es

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Geographical distribution of winners and losers. Left – The proportion of European species that occur in each individual country (bars, left axis) against the proportion of projected loser (blue asterisks, right axis) and winner species (green squares, right axis) as projected for 2080 with the A1FI scenario: (a) plant species occurring in protected areas; (b) vertebrate species occurring in protected areas; (c) IUCN Red data vertebrate and plant species occurring in protected areas (n=52); (d) Bird & Habitat directive vertebrate and plant species occurring in Natura 2000 sites (n=317). Notice that countries on the x-axis are ordered by the proportion of European species that occur in them. Right – Overlay between richness of species losing and winning suitable climate in conservation areas. Scores are divided into 10 equal-interval colour classes, where increasing intensities of blue represent increasing numbers of species losing suitable climate in conservation areas and increasing intensities of green represent increasing numbers of species winning suitable climate; shades of grey represent linearly covarying scores between winners and losers. All 10β€² latitude and longitude cells with > 0% coverage with conservation areas are coloured. Regions with several small-sized conservation areas appear to have greater degree of protection but for the analyses, the percentage of grid-cell coverage by conservation areas was computed (Figure S1) and combined with modelled climatic suitabilities for each species. Country abbreviations are as follows: ALB – Albania; AND – Andorra; AUS – Austria, BEL – Belgium; BOS – Bosnia & Herzegovina; BUL – Bulgaria; CRO – Croatia; CZH – Czech Republic; DEN – Denmark; EST – Estonia; FIN – Finland; FRA – France; GER – Germany; GRE – Greece; HUN – Hungary; IRL – Ireland; ITA – Italy; LAT – Latvia; LIE – Liechtenstein; LIT – Lithuania; LUX – Luxembourg; MAC – Macedonia; MAL – Malta; MNG – Montenegro; MON – Monaco; NET – Netherlands; NOR – Norway; POL – Poland; POR – Portugal; ROM – Romania; SAM – San Marino; SER – Serbia; SLK – Slovakia; SLO – Slovenia; SPA – Spain; SWE – Sweden; SWI – Switzerland; UK – United Kingdom.
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fig02: Geographical distribution of winners and losers. Left – The proportion of European species that occur in each individual country (bars, left axis) against the proportion of projected loser (blue asterisks, right axis) and winner species (green squares, right axis) as projected for 2080 with the A1FI scenario: (a) plant species occurring in protected areas; (b) vertebrate species occurring in protected areas; (c) IUCN Red data vertebrate and plant species occurring in protected areas (n=52); (d) Bird & Habitat directive vertebrate and plant species occurring in Natura 2000 sites (n=317). Notice that countries on the x-axis are ordered by the proportion of European species that occur in them. Right – Overlay between richness of species losing and winning suitable climate in conservation areas. Scores are divided into 10 equal-interval colour classes, where increasing intensities of blue represent increasing numbers of species losing suitable climate in conservation areas and increasing intensities of green represent increasing numbers of species winning suitable climate; shades of grey represent linearly covarying scores between winners and losers. All 10β€² latitude and longitude cells with > 0% coverage with conservation areas are coloured. Regions with several small-sized conservation areas appear to have greater degree of protection but for the analyses, the percentage of grid-cell coverage by conservation areas was computed (Figure S1) and combined with modelled climatic suitabilities for each species. Country abbreviations are as follows: ALB – Albania; AND – Andorra; AUS – Austria, BEL – Belgium; BOS – Bosnia & Herzegovina; BUL – Bulgaria; CRO – Croatia; CZH – Czech Republic; DEN – Denmark; EST – Estonia; FIN – Finland; FRA – France; GER – Germany; GRE – Greece; HUN – Hungary; IRL – Ireland; ITA – Italy; LAT – Latvia; LIE – Liechtenstein; LIT – Lithuania; LUX – Luxembourg; MAC – Macedonia; MAL – Malta; MNG – Montenegro; MON – Monaco; NET – Netherlands; NOR – Norway; POL – Poland; POR – Portugal; ROM – Romania; SAM – San Marino; SER – Serbia; SLK – Slovakia; SLO – Slovenia; SPA – Spain; SWE – Sweden; SWI – Switzerland; UK – United Kingdom.

Mentions: A geographical analysis reveals that loser species are predominant over winners across most protected and Natura 2000 areas. Higher proportion of winner species is projected in conservation areas of northern Scandinavia and Britain and in mountains such as the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Carpathians (Fig. 2). A country-by-country analysis reveals that all but two countries (Finland and Sweden) have more loser than winner species in Natura 2000 sites (Fig. 2, Table S3). The number of countries with a higher ratio between winners and losers is greater for protected areas than for Natura 2000, but the general tendency is for increased numbers of winners in the colder edges of Europe (Fig. 2). As expected, differences in thermal tolerance play a major role in accounting for the excesses of winners over losers in these areas. Many warm-tolerant species exist in high latitudes and altitudes and these will gain climatic suitability with climate warming, but the overwhelming majority of alpine and sub-arctic species of European concern (i.e. 97.2%) are projected to lose suitability (Fig. 3). Indeed, because such cold-adapted species have smaller ranges (range sizes at quartiles 25% = 35.5, 50% = 135.5, 75% = 260) than warm-adapted species (25% = 366; 50% = 1706; 75% = 2214), they are exposed to the double jeopardy of being rare and more negatively affected by climate change (Fig. 3).


Climate change threatens European conservation areas.

AraΓΊjo MB, Alagador D, Cabeza M, NoguΓ©s-Bravo D, Thuiller W - Ecol. Lett. (2011)

Geographical distribution of winners and losers. Left – The proportion of European species that occur in each individual country (bars, left axis) against the proportion of projected loser (blue asterisks, right axis) and winner species (green squares, right axis) as projected for 2080 with the A1FI scenario: (a) plant species occurring in protected areas; (b) vertebrate species occurring in protected areas; (c) IUCN Red data vertebrate and plant species occurring in protected areas (n=52); (d) Bird & Habitat directive vertebrate and plant species occurring in Natura 2000 sites (n=317). Notice that countries on the x-axis are ordered by the proportion of European species that occur in them. Right – Overlay between richness of species losing and winning suitable climate in conservation areas. Scores are divided into 10 equal-interval colour classes, where increasing intensities of blue represent increasing numbers of species losing suitable climate in conservation areas and increasing intensities of green represent increasing numbers of species winning suitable climate; shades of grey represent linearly covarying scores between winners and losers. All 10β€² latitude and longitude cells with > 0% coverage with conservation areas are coloured. Regions with several small-sized conservation areas appear to have greater degree of protection but for the analyses, the percentage of grid-cell coverage by conservation areas was computed (Figure S1) and combined with modelled climatic suitabilities for each species. Country abbreviations are as follows: ALB – Albania; AND – Andorra; AUS – Austria, BEL – Belgium; BOS – Bosnia & Herzegovina; BUL – Bulgaria; CRO – Croatia; CZH – Czech Republic; DEN – Denmark; EST – Estonia; FIN – Finland; FRA – France; GER – Germany; GRE – Greece; HUN – Hungary; IRL – Ireland; ITA – Italy; LAT – Latvia; LIE – Liechtenstein; LIT – Lithuania; LUX – Luxembourg; MAC – Macedonia; MAL – Malta; MNG – Montenegro; MON – Monaco; NET – Netherlands; NOR – Norway; POL – Poland; POR – Portugal; ROM – Romania; SAM – San Marino; SER – Serbia; SLK – Slovakia; SLO – Slovenia; SPA – Spain; SWE – Sweden; SWI – Switzerland; UK – United Kingdom.
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fig02: Geographical distribution of winners and losers. Left – The proportion of European species that occur in each individual country (bars, left axis) against the proportion of projected loser (blue asterisks, right axis) and winner species (green squares, right axis) as projected for 2080 with the A1FI scenario: (a) plant species occurring in protected areas; (b) vertebrate species occurring in protected areas; (c) IUCN Red data vertebrate and plant species occurring in protected areas (n=52); (d) Bird & Habitat directive vertebrate and plant species occurring in Natura 2000 sites (n=317). Notice that countries on the x-axis are ordered by the proportion of European species that occur in them. Right – Overlay between richness of species losing and winning suitable climate in conservation areas. Scores are divided into 10 equal-interval colour classes, where increasing intensities of blue represent increasing numbers of species losing suitable climate in conservation areas and increasing intensities of green represent increasing numbers of species winning suitable climate; shades of grey represent linearly covarying scores between winners and losers. All 10β€² latitude and longitude cells with > 0% coverage with conservation areas are coloured. Regions with several small-sized conservation areas appear to have greater degree of protection but for the analyses, the percentage of grid-cell coverage by conservation areas was computed (Figure S1) and combined with modelled climatic suitabilities for each species. Country abbreviations are as follows: ALB – Albania; AND – Andorra; AUS – Austria, BEL – Belgium; BOS – Bosnia & Herzegovina; BUL – Bulgaria; CRO – Croatia; CZH – Czech Republic; DEN – Denmark; EST – Estonia; FIN – Finland; FRA – France; GER – Germany; GRE – Greece; HUN – Hungary; IRL – Ireland; ITA – Italy; LAT – Latvia; LIE – Liechtenstein; LIT – Lithuania; LUX – Luxembourg; MAC – Macedonia; MAL – Malta; MNG – Montenegro; MON – Monaco; NET – Netherlands; NOR – Norway; POL – Poland; POR – Portugal; ROM – Romania; SAM – San Marino; SER – Serbia; SLK – Slovakia; SLO – Slovenia; SPA – Spain; SWE – Sweden; SWI – Switzerland; UK – United Kingdom.
Mentions: A geographical analysis reveals that loser species are predominant over winners across most protected and Natura 2000 areas. Higher proportion of winner species is projected in conservation areas of northern Scandinavia and Britain and in mountains such as the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Carpathians (Fig. 2). A country-by-country analysis reveals that all but two countries (Finland and Sweden) have more loser than winner species in Natura 2000 sites (Fig. 2, Table S3). The number of countries with a higher ratio between winners and losers is greater for protected areas than for Natura 2000, but the general tendency is for increased numbers of winners in the colder edges of Europe (Fig. 2). As expected, differences in thermal tolerance play a major role in accounting for the excesses of winners over losers in these areas. Many warm-tolerant species exist in high latitudes and altitudes and these will gain climatic suitability with climate warming, but the overwhelming majority of alpine and sub-arctic species of European concern (i.e. 97.2%) are projected to lose suitability (Fig. 3). Indeed, because such cold-adapted species have smaller ranges (range sizes at quartiles 25% = 35.5, 50% = 135.5, 75% = 260) than warm-adapted species (25% = 366; 50% = 1706; 75% = 2214), they are exposed to the double jeopardy of being rare and more negatively affected by climate change (Fig. 3).

Bottom Line: Conservation areas are selected without taking into account the effects of climate change.How effectively would such areas conserve biodiversity under climate change?Protected areas are expected to retain climatic suitability for species better than unprotected areas (P < 0.001), but Natura 2000 areas retain climate suitability for species no better and sometimes less effectively than unprotected areas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, 28006, Madrid, Spain. maraujo@mncn.csic.es

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus