A Global-Scale Evaluation of Primate Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Change
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Human-induced climate change poses many potential threats to nonhuman primate species, many of which are already threatened by human activities such as deforestation, hunting, and the exotic pet trade. Here, we assessed the exposure and potential vulnerability of all nonhuman primate species to projected future temperature and precipitation changes. We found that overall, nonhuman primates will experience 10 % more warming than the global mean, with some primate species experiencing >1.5 °C for every °C of global warming. Precipitation changes are likely to be quite varied across primate ranges (from >7.5 % increases per °C of global warming to >7.5 % decreases). We also identified individual endangered species with existing vulnerabilities (owing to their small range areas, specialized diet, or restricted habitat use) that are expected to experience the largest climate changes. Finally, we defined hotspots of primate vulnerability to climate changes as areas with many primate species, high concentrations of endangered species, and large expected climate changes. Although all primate species will experience substantial changes from current climatic conditions, our hotspot analysis suggests that species in Central America, the Amazon, and southeastern Brazil, as well as portions of East and Southeast Asia, may be the most vulnerable to the anticipated impacts of global warming. It is essential that impacts of human-induced climate change be a priority for research and conservation planning in primatology, particularly for species that are already threatened by other human pressures. The vulnerable species and regional hotspots that we identify here represent critical priorities for conservation efforts, as existing challenges are expected to become increasingly compounded by the impacts of global warming.
KeywordsClimate change IUCN Nonhuman primates Spatial analysis Threatened species
We thank J. Freeman, D. Naud, and the members of the Concordia Climate Science, Impacts and Mitigation Studies (C2SIMS) Lab for their contributions and feedback during the research process, as well as D. Seto and M. Burelli for G.I.S. technical support. We thank J. Setchell, A. Korstjens, and one anonymous reviewer for their helpful suggestions and critiques of earlier versions of this manuscript. We would also like to express our appreciation for access to the All the World’s Primates database and to M. Myers for answering our questions about the data therein. T. L. Graham and H. D. Matthews acknowledge funding from the Concordia Institute for Water, Energy and Sustainable Systems (CIWESS) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). S. E. Turner thanks Le Fonds de recherche du Québec–Nature et technologies (FRQNT) for a postdoctoral fellowship that helped support this research, S. Reader for his support, and L. Gould for helpful conversations during early phases of this project. H. D. Matthews and S. E. Turner thank M. Amichai for childcare.
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