Landscape Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 771–789 | Cite as

Habitat networks and food security: promoting species range shift under climate change depends on life history and the dynamics of land use choices

  • Alessandro Gimona
  • Laura Poggio
  • J. Gary Polhill
  • Marie Castellazzi
Research Article



Habitat networks are often advocated as an effective measure for adaptation to climate change, while intensification of land use is a possible response to threats to food security.


We examined the question of whether woodland networks are likely to help promote species range shift, and tried to disentangle the influence of land use change, as mediated by land managers’ choices, climate change and dispersal ability.


Using Scotland as the study area, we considered species types with different dispersal abilities and, with the help of an Agent-Based Model, constructed four stylised scenarios in with different levels of woodland planting and different land managers’ choices. We then modelled range expansion of broadleaved woodland species having increasing dispersal abilities.


Woodland networks could help range shift for species with dispersal distance (DD) of more than 2 km, but would be no panacea if rapid range shift were needed to preserve population viability. In particular, land use choices influenced most the movements of species with DD between 2 and 5 km. Therefore for such species potential disequilibrium between climate and distribution can be mitigated by increasing stepping stones thus improving landscape permeability to movement. Species that had DD ≤2 km moved very slowly in our simulations, and this is consistent with paleo-ecological estimates.


For populations of species with short DD that might need to shift their distribution to remain viable, translocation could be a more effective conservation option than creating woodland networks.


Landscape fragmentation Stepping stones Social simulation Disequilibrium Landscape adaptation Species migration 



We thank the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division for financial support. We wish to thank Dr. Martha Bakker and two anonymous referees for helpful comments that helped improve the quality of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10980_2015_158_MOESM1_ESM.docx (440 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 440 kb)
10980_2015_158_MOESM2_ESM.docx (184 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 184 kb)
10980_2015_158_MOESM3_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 15 kb)


  1. Beale CM, Lennon JJ, Gimona A (2008) Opening the climate envelope reveals no macroscale associations with climate in European birds. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:14908–14912CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bennie J, Hodgson JA, Lawson CR, Holloway CTR, Roy DB, Brereton T, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ (2013) Range expansion through fragmented landscapes under a variable climate. Ecol Lett 16:921–929CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergsten A, Bodin O, Ecke F (2013) Protected areas in a landscape dominated by logging–A connectivity analysis that integrates varying protection levels with competition–colonization tradeoffs. Cons Biol 160:279–288Google Scholar
  4. Bibby JS, Douglas HA, Thomasson AJ, Robertson JS (1982) Land capability classification for agriculture. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research, AberdeenGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown I, Towers W, Rivington M, Black HIJ (2008) Influence of climate change on agricultural land-use potential: adapting and updating the land capability system for Scotland. Clim Res 37(1):43–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown I, Poggio L, Gimona A, Castellazzi M (2011) Climate change, drought risk and land capability for agriculture: implications for land use in Scotland. Reg Environ Change 11(3):503–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bullock JM, Kenward RE, Hails RS (2002) Dispersal ecology. Blackwell Science, Ltd., Oxford. ISBN 0-632-05877-3Google Scholar
  8. Burrows MT, Schoeman DS, Richardson AJ, Molinos JG, Hoffmann A, Buckley LB, Moore PJ, Brown CJ, Bruno JF, Duarte CM, Halpern BS, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Kappel CV, Kiessling W, Connor MI, Pandolfi JM, Parmesan C, Sydeman WJ, Ferrier S, Williams KJ, Poloczanska ES (2014) Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity. Nature 507(7493):492–495CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Burton RJF (2004) Seeing through the ‘good farmer’s’ eyes: towards developing an understanding of the social symbolic value of ‘productivist’ behaviour. Sociol Rural 44(2):195-+Google Scholar
  10. Burton RJF, Wilson GA (2006) Injecting social psychology theory into conceptualisations of agricultural agency: towards a post-productivist farmer self-identity? J Rural Stud 22(1):95–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campbell B (2014) Climate change: call for UN to act on food security. Nature 509(7500):288Google Scholar
  12. Chapman DS (2010) Weak climatic associations among British plant distributions. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 19:831–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen I-C, Hill JK, Ohlemueller R, Roy DB, Thomas CD (2011) Rapid range shifts of species associated with high levels of climate warming. Science 333:1024–1026CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Engler R, Hordijk W, Guisan A (2012) The MIGCLIM R package—seamless integration of dispersal constraints into projections of species distribution models. Ecography 35:872–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Engler R, Hordijk W, Pellissier L (2013) MigClim: implementing dispersal into species distribution models. R package.
  16. Ficetola GF, Maiorano L, Falcucci A, Dendoncker N, Boitani L, Padoa-Schioppa E, Miaud C, Thuiller W (2010) Knowing the past to predict the future: land-use change and the distribution of invasive bullfrogs. Glob Change Biol 16(2):528–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Galatowitsch S, Frelich L, Phillips-Mao L (2009) Regional climate change adaptation strategies for biodiversity conservation in a midcontinental region of North America. Biol Conserv 142(10):2012–2022CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gimona A, Polhill JG (2011) Exploring robustness of biodiversity policy with a coupled metacommunity and agent-based model. J Land Use Sci 6:175–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gimona A, Poggio L, Brown I, Castellazzi M (2012) Woodland networks in a changing climate: threats from land use change. Biol Conserv 149:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Godfray HCJ, Beddington JR, Crute IR, Haddad L, Lawrence D, Muir JF, Pretty J, Robinson S, Thomas SM, Toulmin C (2010) Food security: the challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science 327(5967):812–818Google Scholar
  21. Godfray HCJ, Garnett T (2014) Food security and sustainable intensification. Phil Trans R Soc B 369:20120273Google Scholar
  22. Goovaerts P (1997) Geostatistics for natural resources evaluation. Applied Geostatistics Series. xiv + 483 pp. New York, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  23. Gotts NM, Polhill JG (2009) When and how to imitate your neighbours: lessons from and for FEARLUS. J Artif Soc Soc Simul 12:2. Accessed 1 Sept 2014
  24. Hagerty BE, Nussear KE, Esque TC, Tracy CR (2011) Making molehills out of mountains: landscape genetics of the Mojave Desert tortoise. Landscape Ecol 26(2):267–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Halpin PN (1997) Global climate change and natural-area protection: management responses and research directions. Ecol Appl 7:828–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hancock N, Gallagher R (2014) How ready are we to move species threatened from climate change? Insights into the assisted colonization debate from Australia. Austral Ecol 39:830–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hastie T, Tibshirani R (1990) Generalized additive models. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. Hijmans RJ, Graham CH (2006) Testing the ability of climate envelope models to predict the effect of climate change on species distributions. Glob Change Biol 12:2272–2281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hill JK, Thomas CD, Huntley B (1999) Climate and habitat availability determine 20th century changes in a butterfly’s range margin. Proc R Soc Lond B 266:1197–1206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lambin EF, Meyfroidt P (2011) Global land use change, economic globalization, and the looming land scarcity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(9):3465–3472CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lavalle C, Micale F, Houston TD, Camia A, Hiederer R, Lazar C, Conte C, Amatulli G, Genovese G (2009) Climate change in Europe. 3. Impact on agriculture and forestry. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 29(3):433–446Google Scholar
  32. Lawton JH, Brotherton PNM, Brown VK, Elphick C, Fitter AH, Forshaw J, Haddow RW, Hilborne S, Leafe RN, Mace GM, Southgate MP, Sutherland WJ, Tew TE, Varley J, Wynne GR (2010) Making space for nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network. Report to DefraGoogle Scholar
  33. Lindenmayer D1, Hobbs RJ, Montague-Drake R, Alexandra J, Bennett A, Burgman M, Cale P, Calhoun A, Cramer V, Cullen P, Driscoll D, Fahrig L, Fischer J, Franklin J, Haila Y, Hunter M, Gibbons P, Lake S, Luck G, MacGregor C, McIntyre S, Nally RM, Manning A, Miller J, Mooney H, Noss R, Possingham H, Saunders D, Schmiegelow F, Scott M, Simberloff D, Sisk T, Tabor G, Walker B, Wiens J, Woinarski J, Zavaleta E (2008) A checklist for ecological management of landscapes for conservation. Ecol Lett 11(1):78–91Google Scholar
  34. Long SP, Ainsworth EA, Leakey ADB, Morgan PB (2005) Global food insecurity. Treatment of major food crops with elevated carbon dioxide or ozone under large-scale fully open-air conditions suggests recent models may have overestimated future yields. Philos Trans R Soc B 360(1463):2011–2020CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McRae BH, Dickson BG, Keitt TH, Shah VB (2008) Using circuit theory to model connectivity in ecology, evolution, and conservation. Ecology 89(10):2712–2724CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005) Ecosystems & human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  37. Mitikka V, Heikkinen RK, Luoto M, Araujo MB, Saarinen K, Poyry J, Fronzek S (2008) Predicting range expansion of the map butterfly in Northern Europe using bioclimatic models. Biodivers Conserv 17(3):623–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Morin X, Augspurger C, Chuine I (2007) Process-based modelling of species distributions: what limits temperate tree species’ range boundaries? Ecology 88:2280–2291CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Morton D, Rowland C, Wood C, Meek L, Marston C, Smith G, Wadsworth R, Simpson IC (2011) Final report for LCM2007—the new UK Land Cover Map. CS Technical Report No. 11/07. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Accessed 25 March 2014
  40. Nepstad DC, Stickler CM, Soares-Filho B, Merry F (2008) Interactions among Amazon land use, forests and climate: prospects for a near-term forest tipping point. Philos Trans R Soc B 363(1498):1737–1746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Normand S, Randin C, Ohlemüller R, Bay C, Høye TT, Kjær ED,Körner C, Lischke H, Maiorano L, Paulsen J, Pearman P, Psomas A, Treier U, Zimmermann NE, Svenning JC (2013) A greener Greenland? Climatic potential and long-term constraints on future expansions of trees and shrubs. Philos Trans R Soc 368:20120479, 12 p. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0479
  42. Opdam P, Washer D (2004) Climate change meets habitat fragmentation: linking landscape and biogeographical scale level in research and conservation. Biol Conserv 117:285–297Google Scholar
  43. Ordonez A (2013) Realized climatic niche of North American plant taxa lagged behind climate during the end of the Pleistocene. Am J Bot 100(7):1255–1265CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Parmesan C, Yohe G (2003) A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421:37–42CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Patterson G, Nelson D, Robertson P, Tullis J (2014) Scotland’s native woodlands. Results from the native woodland survey of Scotland. Forestry Commission Scotland.$FILE/NWSS-Report2014.pdf. Accessed 25 March 2014
  46. Peltonen-Sainio P, Jauhiainen L, Laurila IP (2009) Cereal yield trends in northern European conditions: changes in yield potential and its realisation. Field Crops Res 110:85–90Google Scholar
  47. Perry M, Hollis D (2005) The generation of monthly gridded datasets for a range of climatic variables over the UK. Int J Climatol 25(8):1041–1054CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Piquer-Rodríguez M, Torrella S, Gavier-Pizarro G, Volante J, Somma D, Ginzburg R, Kuemmerle T (Present issues) Effects of past and future land conversions on forest connectivity in the Argentine Chaco. Landscape EcolGoogle Scholar
  49. Polhill JG, Gotts NM, Law ANR (2001) Imitative versus nonimitative strategies in a land-use simulation. Cybern Syst 32(1–2):285–307Google Scholar
  50. Polhill JG, Sutherland L-A, Gotts NM (2010) Using qualitative evidence to enhance an agent-based modelling system for studying land use change. J Artif Soc Soc Simul 13(2):10.
  51. Polhill JG, Gimona A, Gotts N (2013) Nonlinearities in biodiversity incentive schemes: a study using an integrated agent-based and metacommunity model. Environ Model Softw 45:74–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ricciardi A, Simberloff D (2009) Assisted colonization: good intentions and dubious risk assessment. Trends Ecol Evol 24:476–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rodrigues ASL, Andelman SJ, Bakarr MI, Animale B (2004) Effectiveness of the global protected area network in representing species diversity. Nature 428:9–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Row JR, Blouin-Demers G, Lougheed SC (2010) Habitat distribution influences dispersal and fine-scale genetic population structure of eastern foxsnakes (Mintonius gloydi) across a fragmented landscape. Mol Ecol 19(23):5157–5171CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Saura SC, Estreguil C, Mouton C, Rodríguez-Freire M (2011) Network analysis to assess landscape connectivity trends: application to European forests (1990–2000). Ecol Indic 11:407–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Saura S, Bodin O, Fortin MJ (2014) Stepping stones are crucial for species’ long-distance dispersal and range expansion through habitat networks. J Appl Ecol 51(1):171–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schwartz MW, Hellmann JJ, McLachlan JM, Sax DF, Borevitz JO, Brennan J, Camacho AE, Ceballos G, Clark JR, Doremus H, Early R, Etterson JR, Fielder D, Gill JL, Gonzalez P, Green N, Hannah L, Jamieson DW, Javeline D, Minteer BA, Odenbaugh J, Polasky S, Richardson DM, Root TL, Safford HD, Sala O, Schneider SH, Thompson AR, Williams JW, Vellend M, Vitt P, Zellmer S (2012) Managed relocation: integrating the scientific, regulatory and ethical challenges. Bioscience 62:732–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shirk AJ, Wallin DO, Cushman SA, Rice CG, Warheit KI (2010) Inferring landscape effects on gene flow: a new model selection framework. Mol Ecol 19(17):3603–3619CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Shoo LP, Hoffmann AA, Garnett S, Pressey RL, Williams YM, Taylor M, Falconi L, Yates CJ, Scott JK, Alagador D, Williams SE (2013) Making decisions to conserve species under climate change. Clim Change 119:239–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Simon HA (1955) A behavioral model of rational choice. Q J Econ 69:99–118. Reprinted in Simon HA (1957) Models of man, social and rational: mathematical essays on rational human behavior in a social setting, Chap. 14, pp 241–260Google Scholar
  61. Sutherland L-A, Barnes A, McCrum G, Blackstock K, Toma L (2011) Towards a cross-sectoral analysis of land use decision-making in Scotland. Landsc Urban Plan 100(1–2):1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Svenning J-C, Sandel B (2013) Disequilibrium vegetation dynamics under future climate change. Am J Bot 100(7):1266–1286CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Thuiller W, Albert C, Araujo MB, Berry PM, Cabeza M, Guisan A, Hickler T, Midgely GF, Paterson J, Schurr FM, Sykes MT, Zimmermann NE (2008) Predicting global change impacts on plant species’ distributions: future challenges. Perspect Plant Ecol Evol Syst 9(3–4):137–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. van der Horst D, Gimona A (2005) Where new farm woodlands support biodiversity action plans: a spatial multi-criteria analysis. Biol Conserv 123:421–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Verburg PH, Schulp CJE, Witte N, Veldkamp A (2006a) Downscaling of land use change scenarios to assess the dynamics of European landscapes. Agric Ecosyst Environ 114(1):39–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Verburg PH, Veldkamp A, Rounsevell MDA (2006b) Scenario-based studies of future land use in Europe. Agric Ecosyst Environ 114(1):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Vos CC, Berry P, Opdam P, Baveco H, Nijhof B, O’Hanley J, Bell C, Kuipers H (2008) Adapting landscapes to climate change: examples of climate-proof ecosystem networks and priority adaptation zones. J Appl Ecol 45(6):1722–1731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Vos CC, van der Hoek DCJ, Vonk M (2010) Spatial planning of a climate adaptation zone for wetland ecosystems. Landscape Ecol 25(10):1465–1477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Watts K, Eycott AE, Handley P, Ray D, Humphrey JW, Quine CP (2010) Targeting and evaluating biodiversity conservation action within fragmented landscapes: an approach based on generic focal species and least-cost networks. Landscape Ecol 25(9):1305–1318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Weller SG, Suding K, Sakai AK (2013) Botany and a changing world: introduction to the Special Issue on Global Biological Change. Am J Bot 100(7):1229–1233CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Wheeler T, von Braun J (2013) Climate change impacts on global food security. Science 341(6145):508–513Google Scholar
  72. Wing SL, Harrington GJ, Smith FA, Bloch JI, Boyer DM, Freeman KH (2005) Transient floral change and rapid global warming at the Paleocene–Eocene boundary. Science 310(5750):993–996CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Wood S (2006) Generalized additive models: an introduction with R. Chapman and Hall/CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Gimona
    • 1
  • Laura Poggio
    • 1
  • J. Gary Polhill
    • 1
  • Marie Castellazzi
    • 1
  1. 1.The James Hutton InstituteAberdeenScotland, UK

Personalised recommendations