Climate change increases impact of land cover change

In our paper published today, we show that climate change increases the impact of land cover change for both mammals and birds at a global scale.

Mantyka-Pringle, C.S., Visconti, P., Di Marco, M., Martin, T.G., Rondinini, C., Rhodes, J.R., 2015. Climate change modifies risk of global biodiversity loss due to land-cover change. Biological Conservation 187, 103-111. PDF

Understanding the role of multiple stressors on biodiversity is essential for identifying policy responses and managing the impact of global change on biodiversity. Our paper addresses this critical issue and provides new insights into global investment in conservation priority ‘hotspots’. We use an empirically-derived model of the interaction between habitat loss and climate to quantify the implications of these interactions on birds and mammals at the global scale. We show that the interaction is a key driver of the effect of future land-cover change on birds and mammals, increasing impacts by up to 43%. In addition, we show that the ranking of global biodiversity hotspots in terms of risk of decline depends critically on the interaction between climate change and habitat loss. The size of these effects fundamentally alters our understanding of global risks to biodiversity and where conservation priorities lie.

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