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Publication Information

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Title: The importance of assessing climate change vulnerability to address species conservation

Author: Bagne, Karen E.; Friggens, Megan M.; Coe, Sharon J.; Finch, Deborah M.;

Date: 2014

Source: Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 5(2): 450-462, e1944-687X.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Species conservation often prioritizes attention on a small subset of "special status" species at high risk of extinction, but actions based on current lists of special status species may not effectively moderate biodiversity loss if climate change alters threats. Assessments of climate change vulnerability may provide a method to enhance identification of species at risk of extinction. We compared climate change vulnerability and lists of special status species to examine the adequacy of current lists to represent species at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The comparison was made for terrestrial vertebrates in a regionally important management area of the southwestern United States. Many species not listed as special status were vulnerable to increased extinction risk with climate change. Overall, 74% of vulnerable species were not included in lists of special status and omissions were greatest for birds and reptiles. Most special status species were identified as additionally vulnerable to climate change impacts and there was little evidence to indicate the outlook for these species might improve with climate change, which suggests that existing conservation efforts will need to be intensified. Current special status lists encompassed climate change vulnerability best if climate change was expected to exacerbate current threats, such as the loss of wetlands, but often overlooked climate-driven threats, such as exceeding physiological thresholds.

Keywords: California and Southwest U.S., conservation, vertebrates, vulnerability assessment

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Bagne, Karen E.; Friggens, Megan M.; Coe, Sharon J.; Finch, Deborah M. 2014. The importance of assessing climate change vulnerability to address species conservation. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 5(2): 450-462, e1944-687X.

 


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