Effects of climate change on species distribution, community structure, and conservation of birds in protected areas in Colombia
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- Velásquez-Tibatá, J., Salaman, P. & Graham, C.H. Reg Environ Change (2013) 13: 235. doi:10.1007/s10113-012-0329-y
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Climate change is expected to cause shifts in species distributions worldwide, threatening their viability due to range reductions and altering their representation in protected areas. Biodiversity hotspots might be particularly vulnerable to climate change because they hold large numbers of species with small ranges which could contract even further as species track their optimal habitat. In this study, we assessed the extent to which climate change could cause distribution shifts in threatened and range-restricted birds in Colombia, a megadiverse region that includes the Tropical Andes and Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena hotspots. To evaluate how climate change might influence species in this region, we developed species distribution models using MAXENT. Species are projected to lose on average between 33 and 43 % of their total range under future climate, and up to 18 species may lose their climatically suitable range completely. Species whose suitable climate is projected to disappear occur in mountainous regions, particularly isolated ranges such as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Depending on the representation target considered, between 46 and 96 % of the species evaluated may be adequately represented in protected areas. In the future, the fraction of species potentially adequately represented is projected to decline to 30–95 %. Additional protected areas may help to retain representativeness of protected areas, but monitoring of species projected to have the largest potential declines in range size will be necessary to assess the need of implementing active management strategies to counteract the effects of climate change.