Climate change threatens European conservation areas.
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.
Affiliation: Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, 28006, Madrid, Spain. firstname.lastname@example.orgShow MeSH
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).
Affiliation: Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, 28006, Madrid, Spain. email@example.com