The role of future climate change refugia in Brazilian conservation planning

Costa Telhado Pereira, Cristina (2021) The role of future climate change refugia in Brazilian conservation planning. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The ongoing biodiversity and climate crises are interlinked and need to be addressed together. Hitherto global and regional assessments of priorities for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration generally do not account for future climate change. To plan climate resilient conservation, it is important to prioritize creation of new protected areas (PAs) and ecosystem restoration in refugia projected to remain climatically suitable for most biota currently present. This thesis builds on Wallace Initiative, assessing the implications and limitations of using refugia to create spatial conservation plans for Brazil for amphibians, birds, mammals, plants, and reptiles. Using a novel cross-taxon and biome-specific analysis, it explores the opportunity for expanding PAs and for ecosystem restoration of converted areas to protect or recover refugia. Uncertainties in climate change projection for levels of global warming between 1.5 and 6.0ºC above pre-industrial levels are considered. Cross-taxon refugia in Brazil shrink by 56% as warming increases from 1.5ºC to 2.7ºC, almost disappearing in Amazon and falling to less than 30% of Cerrado and Pantanal, indicating these biomes may be more sensitive than previously thought. With 2.7ºC warming, refugia for all taxa combined are restricted mainly to Pampa and central and southern Atlantic Forest, a largely fragmented biome. Only if global warming is kept below 1.5ºC, will there be PAs in all biomes projected to be refugia for all taxa. Cross-taxon refugia in Brazil and in all biomes fall mainly outside the current PA network but still have native vegetation, except for Atlantic Forest, highlighting the urgency of safeguarding these refugia from deforestation and degradation. Key areas to protect include northern and north-west of Amazon, northern Caatinga, the Amazon-Cerrado border and Cerrado-Atlantic Forest border, and western Pantanal. Refugia in Atlantic Forest and Pampa are particularly important to conserve and restore, because they persist at higher levels of warming.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 10:35
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2023 01:38


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