Searching for Networks: Ecological Connectivity for Amphibians Under Climate Change

Felipe S. Campos, Ricardo Lourenço-de-Moraes, Danilo S. Ruas, Caio V. Mira-Mendes, Marc Franch, Gustavo A. Llorente, Mirco Solé, Pedro Cabral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Ecological connectivity depends on key elements within the landscape, which can support ecological fluxes, species richness and long-term viability of a biological community. Landscape planning requires clear aims and quantitative approaches to identify which key elements can reinforce the spatial coherence of protected areas design. We aim to explore the probability of the ecological connectivity of forest remnants and amphibian species distributions for current and future climate scenarios across the Central Corridor of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Integrating amphibian conservation, climate change and ecological corridors, we design a landscape ranking based on graph and circuit theories. To identify the sensitivity of connected areas to climate-dependent changes, we use the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate by means of simulations for 2080–2100, representing a moderated emission scenario within an optimistic context. Our findings indicate that more than 70% of forest connectivity loss by climate change may drastically reduce amphibian dispersal in this region. We show that high amphibian turnover rates tend to be greater in the north-eastern edges of the corridor across ensembles of forecasts. Our spatial analysis reveals a general pattern of low-conductance areas in landscape surface, yet with some well-connected patches suggesting potential ecological corridors. Atlantic Forest reserves are expected to be less effective in a near future. For improved conservation outcomes, we recommend some landscape paths with low resistance values across space and time. We highlight the importance of maintaining forest remnants in the southern Bahia region by drafting a blueprint for functional biodiversity corridors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume65
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Anura
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Climate models
  • Dispersal ability
  • Functional corridor

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